neXat SAP - Satellite Services Aggregation Platform

Status
Ongoing
Status date
2022-10-03
Activity Code
6B.103
Objectives

The objectives of the Product Phase are: 

1.    to develop a Virtual Teleport (VT) functionality, allowing hub, teleport and satellite operators to 

  • use other satellite teleports’ infrastructure and bandwidth 

  • manage and monitor owned and dedicated bandwidth as Virtual Network Operator (VNO)

  • benefit from the platform’s full-service portfolio and customer management & monitoring tools

  • monetise bandwidth and infrastructure through neXat

2.    to provide access to non-geostationary constellation services and to benefit from low latency satellite services 
3.    to add a competitive traffic shaping functionality and routing to neXat SAP

The three key new features are illustrated in the figure below.

 

Challenges

The main challenges of the project are:

  • to overcome the high complexity of such a platform, including the traffic control and network management functions and the Virtual Teleport component  

  • to meet the high level of service availability, reliability and security required by teleports and Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

  • to alleviate any technical difficulties in accessing non-geostationary constellation platforms, due to a high degree of verticalisation of such platforms, the non-availability of standards and generally the low level of compatibility with regards to application and access interfaces

Benefits

Virtual teleport

Benefits for service providers (Teleport A)

  • CAPEX-free access to global satellite coverage in multiple frequency bands, from multiple satellite operators, GEO and LEO

  • CAPEX-free access to global teleports infrastructure: multiple antennas and multiple Hubs technologies (ST Engineering Dialog and iDirect , Hughes, UHP…)

  • Access to interactive price catalogue (SatADSL Marketplace) 

  • Own VNO bandwidth, offered by SatADSL to operators for a fixed monthly fee, with full capability to manage and monitor their own network of customers, as a virtual operator, without having to invest in their own Hubs and antennas infrastructure (Virtual OSS/BSS capability with no CAPEX)

  • Access to service packs configuration tool (VNOFlex, contended, FUP-based, voucher-based services, multicasting…)

  • Capability to monitor and manage long value-chains, from ISPs resellers to end users and multi-layer ticketing system

Competitive Traffic shaping

Benefits for service providers (Teleport A)

  • optimisation of traffic management all along the teleport’s value-chain

Benefit for SatADSL (with impact on competitiveness)

  • exploit statistical multiplexing gain among different virtual operators using capacity on the same satellite.

  • reduce the cost of the shaped mega-bit-per-second both in terms of non-recurrent and recurrent costs: cost of 1 Mbps processed by the shaper shall not exceed 20€/year as Recurring Cost

  • improve the flexibility of the shaping and routing function when several ISP are assigned a dedicated bandwidth within a given satellite bandwidth pool 

  • easily configure new classes of services

Low latency services

Benefits for service providers (Teleport A)

  • get an easy access to multiple LEO satellite capacities (on top of access to GEO satellite capacity currently offered)

  • In a second step, give to Teleport the capability to design themselves the services that are the most appropriate to their clients and market segment and so to differentiate from each other’s.

Benefit for SatADSL

  • extend its service portfolio with a appealing new LEO connectivity services (there is currently a strong market demand for such new services, especially in Africa)

Benefit for NGEO satellites operators (Teleport B)

  • provide a single access point to a large network of independent teleports and ISPs (through neXat)

  • make possible a quick access to a comprehensive independent orchestration platform for service management and monitoring, including billing and on-line payment tools (neXat)

  • offer early-stage testing and demonstration capability in different vertical markets through neXat

  • by giving the capability to their resellers to design themselves the services that are the most appropriate for their market segment, they accelerate the penetration and acceptability of their services while avoiding their ISP resellers (including Teleports) to make competition only on the price and avoiding so a quick erosion of their selling prices and margins.

Features

The product compromises of 3 new service features: 

  • Virtual Teleport: the new feature includes a new role in the Customer Management Tool (CMT) which sits in between the current Teleport role and Distributor role. The Virtual Teleport feature offers to teleports and larger service providers the necessary management and monitoring tools to buy raw bandwidth in megabit per second from SatADSL and resell their own service packs to their customers. This new role is implemented across the accounting, billing and on-line payment processes. Further, the system exploits statistical multiplexing between different service providers using the same satellite bandwidth pool. 

  • Competitive Traffic Shaping: In order to be able to exploit statistical multiplexing among the different service, a new layer is introduced in the shaping tree. The new traffic shaper supports a deeper shaping tree but also the control software that automatically updates the Traffic Shaper and any other network equipment. This is done each time a change in the network occurs (including the provision of a new terminal). In neXat this is called the Master Process, that accommodates for the increased depth. The new traffic shaping features allow SatADSL to operate more competitively and independently from 3rd party technology providers and is a key component of the neXat SAP platform. The new traffic shaper also improves flexibility and robustness of the Master Process.

  • Access to Low Latency Services: New services based on LEO and MEO constellations offering low latency communications are coming to fruition. They are very well suited to specific applications and to penetrate a sizable share of the telecommunications market. In addition, such systems are intrinsically threatening the current business model and value-chain position of teleports. It is therefore extremely important for SatADSL to be able to offer such services in its portfolio, especially to allow smaller teleports to have a role in such new business.

System Architecture

The product is illustrated in the following high-level block diagram, which identifies the key building blocks and major interfaces.

"neXat High-level Block Diagram"
neXat High-level Block Diagram

The main elements of the system are:

  • The Traffic Shaping & Routing (TSR) providing end-user IP traffic shaping and routing depending on user service profile, bandwidth and/or data consumption and overall network congestion, traffic policy definition and enforcement and QoS definition and enforcement

  • The Customer Management Tool (CMT) providing a hierarchical, role-based portal allowing all actors in the value chain to access the SatADSL system for management, monitoring and value-added services

  • The Network Performance Monitoring System (NPMS) providing monitoring of network performances and network elements to ensure security, availability and resilience. The system serves both internal customers (SatADSL Technical Support) and external customers (users all along the value chain, e.g. ISPs, resellers, Customer organisations, end-users)

Plan

The project follows a waterfall process. The main milestones are:

  • BRD (Baseline Design Review) planned 3 months after the start of the project

  • CDR (Critical Design Review) planned 3 months after the BDR

  • TRR (Test Readiness Review) planned 7 months after the CDR

  • FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) planned 5 months after the TRR

  • SAT (Site Acceptance Test) and FR (Final Review) concluding the Product Phase after 18 months

Current status

The project was kicked-off in March 2022. The work is currently in progress. 

Prime Contractor