Drill 2022 Conference, Superior Internet for remote sites.

May 12, 2024
min read

Extract from Drill 2022 Conference - Communications

Superior Internet for remote sites

Sat.One CEO Daniel Fairbairn explained to DRILL 2022 delegates how new satellite technology is about to change the game in communications by providing the same level of Internet connectivity in remote locations to that of major cities. Jamie Wade writes.

Daniel, whose Perth-based company provides global communications solutions, said the new satellite network to be launched early next year will make Sat.One one of the first companies in the world to offer communication services via a dedicated business grade Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. This constellation will allow Sat.One to provide high speed, low latency Internet services across the entire globe including areas where communication has previously been impossible.

The constellation comprises 648 satellites orbiting the earth at 1200km. The satellites orbit the earth pole to pole in 12 equal planes of 49 satellites. The remaining satellites act as spares and orbit with their payloads switched off in stand-by mode awaiting deployment.

The constellation is supported by 43 ground stations or Satellite Network Portals (SNP) globally with three based in Australia. Each orbiting satellite maintains a connection with the nearest SNP dependent upon the position within its orbit. The satellite will establish connection with the next nearest SNP before disconnecting with the existing SNP ensuring seamless connectivity.

Each orbiting satellite has 16 user beams arranged in a venetian blind' pattern. The footprint of each satellite overlaps that of the adjacent satellite footprints to create gapless coverage. As satellites pass overhead, a user terminal at a customer's site will maintain continuous connectivity with the network by consistently handing off to the nearest satellite beam passing overhead.

Each user terminal will be connected simultaneously to two separate beams and or satellites ensuring seamless connectivity and low latency. The user terminal at the client's site will be connected to the network via the nearest orbiting satellite, landed at the nearest SNP and immediately transferred into the Sat.One network via its Point of Interconnect in Perth.

"LEO communication services will provide substantial and significant advantages and benefits over traditional forms of communication such as fibre, microwave and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit [GEO] satellites," Daniel said.

"LEO services can be connected within 24 hours of order without the need for expensive and time consuming installation and the LEO antennae merely requires power and a clear view of the sky to maintain seamless connectivity with the constellation. The antennae requires the same power as a modem on standard power. GEO antennae requires complicated installation with minimal tolerance in order to achieve connectivity with installation requiring a trained engineer on site. MEO requires 3 large expensive antennae requiring a large footprint and qualified installers to construct.

In the case of fibre and microwave there is often a requirement for long and expensive construction builds requiring land access and title which can create additional delays and, in some cases, native title issues."

Compared to conventional satellite networks, added Daniel, the LEO constellation sits at 1200km compared to GEO at 36000km and MEO at 10-15000kms and as such provides a substantially improved latency.

"Typical latency with LEO is between 50ms and 70ms compared to GEO at 600ms," he said. "This improved latency ensures LEO services provide fibre like connectivity no matter the location and remoteness of the user terminal. Due to the closer proximity of the LEO constellation to earth the bandwidth options are greatly increased compared to GEO and MEO. The Sat.One LEO constellation can offer bandwidths up to 400mbps with a relatively compact antennae."

At the end of the day, said Daniel, the LEO satellite network will offer superior connectivity for voice, video, security, and any applications needed to operate within the Internet. This technology is exciting and can connect remote drilling sites to headquarters or operation centres like never before," he said. This level of connectivity also comes at a time when the drilling industry is capturing more data.

"LEO services can be connected within 24 hours of order without the need for expensive and time consuming installation and the LEO antennae merely requires power and a clear view of the sky to maintain seamless connectivity with the constellation"

Daniel Fairbairn
Chief Executive Officer