Reliable satellite communication is a requirement for today’s government aircraft. From enabling en-route connectivity for crew and passengers, to powering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) applications, having a data connection available at a moment’s notice is a must.
However, managing a network and the services necessary to support around-the-clock communications with high-data rate transmissions and global agility can burden internal resources, budgets and manpower. In self-managed networks, over commitments to infrastructure, bandwidth and services are often required to achieve the throughput and resiliency required.
That is why many government organizations are shifting away from operating their own networks and turning to commercially available — and trusted — managed services. However, not all service offerings are created equal. Here are three attributes to look for from a managed services provider to ensure you get the high-performing satellite communications critical to your mission’s success.
Guaranteed availability where you need it.
It’s difficult to anticipate the demands that will be placed on your satellite equipment and service architecture. Users expect services consistent with what they have on the ground. Whether enabling a senior government leader’s video conference while airborne or an aircraft crew’s inflight updates, the satellite service must work —wherever the aircraft may go.
Many networks have only a single satellite spread across an entire region. This results in single thread coverage; a single satellite beam to accommodate all aircraft in the area, which may result in spotty capacity and service interruptions. FlexAir has overlapping satellite beams, particularly in areas of high concentrations of terminals. With multiple beams in set geographies on earth, government customers are assured coverage and connectivity for any operation, conducted in any environment, almost anywhere in the world — without interruption.
High-data rate transmissions for any inflight or on-ground scenario.
Your aircraft’s data needs can vary widely based on its mission. For example, ISR’s bandwidth-intensive operations (full-motion high-definition video, sensor or radar information) require large transmission rates from the platform. While en-route communications, often used by government officials, have traffic demand in the opposite direction. Each mission places different demands on the satellite equipment and service architecture that need to be accommodated in real-time. Broadband usage is nearly impossible to predict, creating a capacity guessing game that takes focus away from the mission at hand.
Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites concentrate satellite power into small spot beams, improving efficiency and employ frequency reuse, increasing the aggregate amount of capacity. With a bigger channel size of bandwidth going into each Intelsat EpicNG beam, government organizations benefit from up to ten times the capacity of competitive offerings, ensuring they can support ten times as many users without impacting performance.
Predictable cost structure to drive savings.
If you’re under pressure to watch costs, paying for underutilized bandwidth or satellite services must be avoided. Ideally, you want flexibility in choosing connectivity types; choices with predictable costs for budgeting and the confidence that the bandwidth is available when you need it.
FlexAir managed services provide pay-as-you-go as well as monthly subscription options and allocate and share bandwidth among defined groups of aircraft as well as between groups. Government users can select several service offerings allowing them to choose the right plan based on their data rate and geographic needs. With multi-layered, seamless, and consistent coverage, government users have the flexibility to optimize their service, provide a predictable cost structure that meets budget requirements, and deliver real value to their government aviation users.
For seamless, secure broadband connectivity to support en-route and ISR missions around the world, users can depend on FlexAir, offered through Comsat.