The mobile satellite communications market is experiencing strong growth globally with mobile workers, cargo, and remote applications driving the industry. This diverse market consists of handsets, modems, ships, human passengers, and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules that bring satellite services to a diverse range of applications, further driving rapid traffic growth and bandwidth demand from machines and humans alike.

As a result of this, however, Satellite Communications (SATCOM) service providers are straining to keep up with this tremendous demand and growth. They are challenged to seamlessly integrate with terrestrial networks, and as if this is not enough, much like the similar challenges faced my terrestrial mobile operators, they also need a solid plan for how they will address the data traffic explosion coming onto their networks in the next three to five years.

That is where Cisco Evolved Packet Core Satellite Radio Access Network solution (or EPC SatRAN for those who prefer acronyms) comes into play.  It provides a standards-based approach to integrate satellite networks with terrestrial mobile networks while providing the ability to create feature-rich service models that can be developed once but deployed many times.  With EPC SatRAN, Satellite Operators can:

  • Remove complexity from current satellite deployments and increase service velocity
  • Reduce OpEx by managing satellite like other wireless access networks
  • Utilize Satellite as the “middle mile”
  • Consistently manage the end-to-end network
  • Support consumer/broadband and Enterprise Business Class services
  • Optimize network services through a unified management layer across HetNet + Satellite by Cisco Prime

Let’s take a look at how one sector – the maritime industry – makes use of Cisco’s EPC SatRAN solution.

Vessel owners can monitor ship-tracking data from anywhere, securely; they can monitor and enable emergency crew welfare services in real time; and it enhances the on-board passenger experience through access to mobile data and any relevant content like product ads and games – enabling vessel owners to generate additional revenues.  All of this can be done without a human ever stepping on board.

That’s because Cisco’s EPC SatRAN solution works behind the scenes, seamlessly connecting the vessel to a land-based point of presence and accessing the nearest terrestrial telecom system in order to analyze data and make necessary decisions, much like small cells do with macrocell networks today.

This solution brings together:

  • A new Cisco Elastic Evolved Packet Core (EPC) Systems Release – a validated design providing network intelligence for controlling and managing mobile SatRAN traffic;
  • The Cisco ASR 5000 Series — enabling a trusted non-3GPP radio access network for existing or new GEO/MEO/LEO based satellite systems, working closely with…
  • The Cisco Quantum Policy Suite — to enable innovative mobile Internet services, superior quality of experience, and to bring new levels of network efficiency when used with context-aware analytics for monetization.

Cisco’s SatRAN-oriented architecture even helps Communications Service Providers and Satellite Operators offer multi-tenant cloud-based services, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), to not only make this solution applicable to the mobile internet but to the cloud as well.

Whether it is bringing together different access types or technologies or even land and sea, the network is connecting them all and helping to bring the Internet of Everything into reality.

Happy (and connected) sailing.

To learn more, please visit Cisco EPC SatRAN solution.


Doug Webster

Vice President