Latency – the other enemy on the battlefield

In my last post on GovSat Report, I discussed why commercial SATCOM is essential for the delivery of advanced IT capabilities to the edge for today’s military.

Ultimately, military personnel and senior decision makers have come to expect access to advanced network functionality, applications and capabilities from wherever they’re stationed across the globe. Frankly, they expect the same user experience they have when sitting behind their desk at a home station, but layered with more applications – some specifically designed to aid in the fight.

With a lack of fiber networks and links available in the regions where today’s warfighters are deployed – or likely to be deployed, provisioning of these fiber networks requiring years to implement and some unfriendly and not-so-friendly nations standing in the way, satellite becomes the best – and only – option to deliver these services.

However, there is a problem that arises when data is sent across traditional satellite networks utilizing geostationary satellites – latency.

Many of today’s applications were created for the local area network. These programs want a response back quickly and they usually get it in traditional office environments because they’re operating on a high speed, local area network.

With geostationary satellites, the data that would traditionally be passing over a high speed, local area network or fiber connection is traveling to and from the satellite, which is at an extremely high altitude. This takes time and creates latency. Subsequently, web pages take minutes to download, and Sharepoint, portals and other solutions that we use at the office become intolerable in the warzone.

The only option is to architect a network heavy with “local resources” so you don’t have to rely on Wide Area Network connectivity. The result is a lot more boxes and a lot more people to sustain in an austere environment.

What if you could get that fiber-like performance from satellite service and move large amounts of information quickly without resorting to strategies that endeavor to get fiber like capability? That’s exactly what a new commercial satellite technology can deliver to the military today.

There is a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation now available to the military through select commercial satellite service providers that is capable of delivering fiber-like speeds and throughput. These satellites operate closer to the Earth than geostationary satellites, reducing the distance data needs to travel, eliminating latency and delivering the information, communication, collaboration and capabilities the military needs into a warzone effectively, efficiently and affordably.

To see MEO satellites in action, and how they can drastically cut down on latency, watch this recent demonstration by satellite service provider, O3B.

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For additional information about MEO satellites and how they can help reduce latency and deliver fiber-like connectivity to the edge, download the whitepaper, “Fiber-Like Satellite Communications for U.S. Government Applications,” by clicking HERE.

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