Smart approach to communications

Jon Lawson

Private corporate networks: ensuring secure and efficient performance. By Volker Jarsch 

Enterprises in the oil and gas industry demand secure, reliable and effective communication between exploration sites and production labs. This includes broadband access to public networks from all sites. Essential to enterprise success is not only access to information systems and shared processing and storage resources, but also fast and secure data exchange between the branches at different locations and with business partners. There is growing awareness that this network and communication backbone, on which many business processes rely, demands particular availability and security.

In the case of oil and gas enterprises with their remote offshore and land locations, they have unique real-time and quality of service (QoS) requirements for reliable communications, connectivity, and complete data protection. The ideal solution, from the IT manager’s perspective, would be completely private lines between the production and drilling platforms, the labs, forwarding and storage sites, and the shared IT tools and databases in the company headquarters. This is difficult to achieve – if at all possible – and would be far too expensive. Therefore, current communications solutions use terrestrial public networks, line-of-sight or satellite, which are far from fully satisfactory.

In response to this gap in the market is an innovative new solution from German technology enterprise ND SatCom: SKYWAN 5G. This solution ideally fulfils the unique requirements of diverse customers, including oil & gas, as detailed below.

Direct single-hop connections

The IT of each site (not including a central hub that is hosted at service provider’s teleport) is extended with a small IP router that communicates via satellite with the same routers at the other sites. The connections occur in one single hop and thus avoid firstly the ‘double hops’ known from the usual satcom systems and secondly, data forwarding via third-party terrestrial routes. The SKYWAN 5G router supports user data rates from a few kilobit/s up to 20 Megabit/s in both directions.

Self-adapting to the actual throughput

Obviously, the data rate to be transmitted out of a site is highly variable and changes instantaneously. Cost-effectiveness demands that – on the one hand – the user data rates shall be supported as required by the application and response times shall be minimised, whereas – on the other hand – the monthly satellite capacity bill shall remain well within the IT budget. This is achieved by SKYWAN 5G’s highly adaptive satellite capacity management system, which effectively adjusts and maintains satellite capacity for the network at a minimum.

Guaranteed transmission times with QoS

All services – telephony, data, and video – share the same satellite capacity. Yet transmission QoS is ensured by the solution’s clear separation of traffic types. Real-time traffic and telephony benefit from minimal jitter, and throughput-critical traffic, such as video, is prioritised via expedited forwarding. Variations in transmission times, known from other systems that include terrestrial routes, are completely avoided.

Unique transmission network

The integration of the same router with portable or mobile terminals enables flexible, quickly deployable and on-the-pause solutions in one homogenous network.

Each of these terminal types is ready to form a new and independent network, which over time will get integrated, for example, with an oil & gas company’s network. Terminal replacement is not needed; a straightforward configuration upload from the network monitoring system (NMS) reconfigures and merges the company’s new out-of-area network.

Intuitive station and network management UI

New SKYWAN 5G users appreciate its intuitive installation support and comprehensive network management functionality. Michael Becker, CEO of ND SatCom, comments: ”The simplicity for the user is surprising – particularly given its innovative network technology, created in-house with co-funding from ESA (European Space Agency) and DLR (German Space Technology Agency).”

This high usability factor is evident in enterprise network management. A company’s IT service connects their LANs with a specific site’s SKYWAN 5G router and installs a compact antenna. Shortly thereafter the users and servers at this site are connected with those at other locations in a ‘private network’ while having, at the same time, up- and download access to public networks. Helmut Jaeckle, product manager, says, ”The key point is our innovative satellite-based automatic routing and bandwidth management technology. Such a corporate network is independent of all other infrastructure. Business processes benefit from faster, more secure and highly available communications. Feedback from our customers confirms that this is the ideal solution for oil & gas enterprises."

Volker Jarsch is director, Satcom Solutions at ND Satcom

Pics: Putting through these in the order of preference but no need to use all of them as I know there are way too many

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Caption if needed: Oil & gas players can greatly benefit from private corporate networks


Caption: SKYWAN 5G_ Front and Rear view


Caption:Single Hop Satcom Connectivity serving your organization


Caption: Manpack Terminal with integrated SKYWAN 5G


Caption: Satcom on_the_move


Caption: UI for receive direction configuration.png


Caption:UI with live radio signal indicator.png

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