Satellite's Growing Role in Data Networking

Since the first smartphones were introduced over a decade ago, the world has seen unprecedented growth in the use of wireless data networks that support billions of mobile devices. Satellite communications, by its very nature, is also a wireless data network but instead of cell towers on the ground, satellites act as “cell towers in the sky” providing mobile communications for commercial and government use, consumer broadband, internet access to cellular networks (cell backhaul) and many other services.

Satellite technology and capabilities continue to improve and as they do the importance of satellite services in data networking continues to grow. A major leap came in 2004 when Telesat launched Anik F2, the first satellite to successfully commercialize consumer broadband services using Ka-band spot beams. Anik F2 is widely credited as the starting point in the industry’s deployment of high throughput satellites (HTS) that combine spot beams and frequency reuse to deliver far greater throughput and greatly improved costs for data networks. The high throughput capabilities of Telesat’s VANTAGE series of satellites make them an ideal choice for serving today’s bandwidth intensive applications – high speed data networks that provide broadband services for customers operating in the air, on the seas and on land.

Telesat is now developing another major advance in satellite technology – a true leap forward – with the capability to provide high capacity broadband anywhere on earth. Instead of operating at the GEO altitude of 36,000 km, Telesat’s new satellite constellation will orbit at an altitude of 1,000 km – called low earth orbit or LEO, and provide far higher capacity than any existing or announced satellite system.. Telesat’s new LEO constellation will open up whole new markets, applications and services that otherwise could not be addressed by current satellite technologies, and transform communications worldwide.

Commercial service start on Telesat’s LEO system is being targeted for 2022. Main advantages will be:

  • High Capacity and Low Latency – Resulting in a user experience on par with high performing terrestrial services. Users will have instant access to high quality broadband regardless of their location.
  • COST – Lower than existing or announced systems.
  • Global Coverage – The same quality and standard of service will be available anywhere on the globe.

Once fully deployed, Telesat’s LEO constellation will deliver transformative, low latency, fiber-like broadband for commercial and government customers throughout the world and change the way people think about satellite-delivered data networks.