What does an SLA look like in the NGSO world?

07.11.2022 – The Satellite World is Evolving

As the NGSO market is just beginning to take off, we’re seeing an increase in demand for integrating LEO and MEO connectivity, with many customers seeing the potential benefits of an increase in bandwidth and a low-latency connection. However, with MEO and LEO providers mainly providing a “best-effort” service, the necessity for a smart network provider increases.

In this article, we’ll explore what an SLA looks like in the NGSO world and how you can use a hybrid network to ensure uptime and keep your remote operations connected:

What are some of the major challenges with operating without an uptime SLA?

The satellite communication industry has prided itself on maximising uptime and reducing downtime, so much so that VSAT providers included Service Level Agreements (SLA) promises within contracts – guaranteeing service and paying penalties for additional downtime.

Without an SLA, you have no guarantee that your satellite provider will be able to deliver the promised bandwidth or availability. You may have to wait for days before they figure out what went wrong to get back up and running. If there is no guaranteed level of service, there is no penalty for a delay in resolution – meaning your operations could be offline for extended periods of time.

Delivering an SLA via a hybrid network

If your operations need to stay connected but you still want to benefit from the low-latency, high-speed connection of MEO and LEO, you will benefit from a hybrid network. By utilising an SD-WAN, you can prioritise data to run across your LEO/MEO connection as available, switching to your GEO connection if they fail. Alternatively, you can segregate data to provide additional security and prioritisation, for example, utilising a LEO connection to provide fibre-like connectivity as part of your crew welfare solution.

With either method, your SD-WAN provides a true inbuilt redundancy, ensuring that you can benefit from the best-effort LEO or MEO solution while ensuring that your rig or vessel has the uptime it needs to be efficient and delivers on its operational targets.

How can you optimise a hybrid network?

Compared to GEO networks which are stationary and have a constant view of the entire Earth from one location at all times, NGSO satellite networks have limited visibility due to their movement across orbit paths. Because of this limitation, when using a LEO or MEO connection, greater consideration must be given to implementing continuous monitoring systems for quality control purposes. This monitoring helps ensure optimal bandwidth delivery and prevents potential downtime scenarios.

With dedicated service delivery managers and engineering support, you can trust that your network is constantly supported to minimise your downtime – both your NGSO connections and your GEO connection. At Marlink, we provide you with direct access to monitoring your network 24/7 on our customer portal. This portal access lets you see exactly what is running over your network and your overall network performance. Allowing you and Marlink to work together as partners to prioritise critical applications, enhance your operations and increase your network utilisation.

Enabling your NGSO success

A high-quality connection is important in today’s operational environment, with trends signifying that data volume will only increase. NGSO operators are part of the answer to lower latency and high-speed connection. However, working alongside a true integrator gives you the ability to have a guaranteed connection.