Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul: Myths & Facts

A third common misperception is that satellite technology is too complex for cellular backhaul networks.
years, bandwidth prices were in freefall. This drop is expected to continue in the future, with the abundance of satellite capacity propelling satellite solutions into the mainstream. Based on these trends, it is expected that the cost for satellite backhaul networks will match those of terrestrial backhaul networks for many use cases. In fact, in a recent report, research firm NSR singled out cellular backhaul as the key vertical expected to drive growth in the satellite communications market.In addition, significant savings in cost can be achieved by regarding satellite backhaul as a managed service. The MNO specifies the requirements, the service level agreement and key performance indicators, as well as the required site locations and the schedule. Considering the managed service as a black box and giving end-to-end responsibility to the satellite backhaul provider will enable the MNO to focus on its core competency and promote its business.

Figure 2 - Global HTS Bandwidth Supply, Demand and Price per Mbps

Myth: Satellite Connectivity is Too Complex

A third common misperception is that satellite technology is too complex for cellular backhaul networks. MNOs already have their hands full with their rapidly evolving mobile networks, and the last thing they want is added complexity for backhaul. 

Fact: Accelerated Layer 2 Support Facilitates Satellite Network Integration

Another factor contributing to satellite backhaul complexity relates to the OSI network layer, where the integration of the satellite and terrestrial cellular networks takes place. Satellite networks traditionally operate at Layer 3 (the network layer) to be able to accelerate the user data, while MNO networks in some cases operate at Layer 2 (the data link layer). Accordingly, satellite networks that can operate at a carrier-grade Layer 2 while enabling acceleration can simplify the extension of existing terrestrial infrastructure to include satellite while increasing operational efficiency.


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