Hughes Completes Over-the-Air Testing of SpaceWay Broadband IP Capabilities
Hughes Network Systems, LLC has announced it has successfully completed a 30-day program of rigorous over-the-air (OTA) testing of the broadband IP capabilities of DirecTV’s SpaceWay 2 satellite. The SpaceWay system was designed and developed by Hughes as a next-generation, Ka-band broadband satellite system to employ on-board traffic switching and routing capability. Combined with many other advances in satellite technology, such as 10 Gbps overall capacity, fast packet switching, and spot beam forming, Hughes said its SpaceWay 3 satellite will usher in a new world of bandwidth-on-demand satellite services, with true peer-to- peer, single-hop networking of high-performance ground terminals. SpaceWay 3 communications satellite, now being built by Boeing Satellite Systems, is projected for launch in early 2007. The SpaceWay 3 satellite will be used to deliver a wide range of HughesNet broadband IP services to enterprise, government, and consumer/small business customers. Hughes said over-the-air testing has provided the company a unique opportunity for verification and integration of hardware and software in preparation for SpaceWay 3, with commercial service planned during the later part of 2007. Hughes said it was able to conduct performance tests in the areas of transmission, user traffic stability and reliability, air interface protocols, user network interfaces, and back-end systems for billing and customer service. The successful completion of these tests has validated the innovative SpaceWay design, large-scale software development, and custom ASIC and hardware development for small format terminals, Hughes said. “Completion of over-the-air testing on SpaceWay 2 is a significant milestone for Hughes and indeed for the satellite industry,” said Pradman Kaul, chairman & CEO of Hughes. “Confirmation of SpaceWay's fundamental technological advantages, namely on-board switching and ten times greater capacity than today's Ku-band satellites, means we now can plan our commercial service launch in 2007 with high confidence in its unique cost/performance benefits. We anticipate that SpaceWay will expand the addressable market for broadband satellite IP services by four times or more.” Hughes developed the SpaceWay system with Boeing as the major subcontractor on the space segment components. As a full IP-based system, SpaceWay supports a large variety of web, data, voice, and video services for both unicast and multicast applications in a standards-compliant fashion. SpaceWay terminals also implement custom enhancement proxies for application acceleration using TCP and HTTP protocols. Hughes has built a scalable Network Operations and Control Center (NOCC), installed at its Germantown Maryland headquarters, which anchors control functions for network addressing, registration, network security, admission control and multicasting. The NOCC also provides satellite payload management, capacity planning, terminal management, customer care and network management functions. According to Hughes, its SpaceWay architecture can scale up to two million terminals per satellite and will provide coverage with multiple spot beams across the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as in selected areas in Canada, Mexico, and major cities in South America.
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