The Context


The GVF-EMP Conference Partnership’s much-lauded series of conferences – focused on the application of satellite communications technologies to a brave new world of ever expanding vertical market opportunities – will continue with the highly-innovative ‘Cellular Backhaul: Smartphones and Tablets – To the Satellite Network and the World’ conference at the Strand Palace Hotel in London on Tuesday 22nd June.


The one day, roundtable-style conference, will explore the current interaction between the satellite and wireless industries, the current and future growth of data traffic from mobile devices and how that will impact both cellular and satellite networks. The various panels will explore the problems, risks and opportunities that this continued growth offers to both these industries and to the businesses that will rely on these future networks, ranging from the Fortune 500 to government and the military, and from planes, trains and automobiles to schools, restaurants and businesses all around the data-hungry world.



Programme Highlights


The programme will consist four themed panel sessions with a maximum of six panellists featuring on each.  Each panellist will be given the opportunity to deliver a short reflection, within the context of the panel's particular theme, aimed at "stimulating a dialogue" on a particular facet of the topic at hand.  The panel moderators will then invite members of the audience to drive the discussion forward through a variety of questions directed at the panellists, through articulating their own perspectives, and by expanding on any of the points already raised.  This is designed to be a fully interactive forum, and everyone in attendance will have a voice.



Network Stretch & Technology Challenges


The satellite industry is at a crucial stage of evolution, with more data coverage “in build”, and due to be launched, in the coming years than on all the satellite communication payloads ever launched combined.  The wireless industry is seeing data usage by business and consumers doubling regularly, posing network stretch and technology challenges across the spectrum.  With the growth of M2M, the exponential expansion in the internet-of-things, and 5G in coming years, these challenges may make 4G LTE seem like a simple dial up deployment of the past.


Satellite has excellent synergies with other, that is to say terrestrial, technologies, including mobile wireless. Backhaul for mobile networks is critical to ensure speed and capacity as it relates to the transport of data (and, of course, voice) from distributed network sites to the network core.



1000 Times More Data Traffic by 2020


One of the most significant challenges in the mobile services market is achieving scalable, flexible backhaul, particularly as markets move to 4G/LTE networks which are forecast to need to support 1,000 times more data traffic by 2020. The backhaul optimisation technologies used to reduce bandwidth which have been introduced cannot solve all backhaul challenges, especially as the roll-out of LTE continues.  As a result there is a need for cost-effective mobile backhaul over satellite for global 3G/4G expansion to relieve congestion.


Reducing Cost: Mobile operators must deliver their services at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.  The cost of backhaul is one of the most important factors.  Traditionally, satellite backhaul was an expensive option, but with HTS this is no longer the case – even in areas supported by terrestrial access.  Within the next few years, it is predicted that the cost of Mbps over satellite will drop by a factor of six.



Mitigating Latency


Mitigating Latency: Latency is challenging for mobile operators. With a GEO satellite link latency potentially resulting in a round-trip delay of 500 to 600 milliseconds.  This affects the response time of 3G/4G/LTE data applications when sent over satellite, resulting in wasted satellite capacity, link under-utilisation and poor performance.  Latency is a matter of physical law, but the application side can help mitigate the effects of latency.  Caching also helps as a way of reducing latency, as does TCP acceleration/ backhaul optimisation, reducing satellite bandwidth needs, enhancing mobile users’ experience and network performance, increasing network throughput and improving network response times and reliability.



Link Availability


Link Availability: Some HTS systems are susceptible to rain attenuation/fade during bad weather conditions, resulting in service disruption.  The solution is a secondary communication path added at base stations so that voice and signalling can be routed over high availability terrestrial or C-/Ku-band routes, while the packet service runs over HTS, maintaining the use of the existing infrastructure and ensuring voice and signalling stays on low latency and highly available communication paths but provides an alternative backhaul approach for service providers, therefore, eliminating the need to upgrade expensive terrestrial communication paths.



Emerging LTE & Small Cell Deployments


Next Generation Satellite Backhaul for Emerging LTE and Small Cell Deployments: Mobile network operators (MNOs) want innovative backhaul architectures that are robust and flexible to accommodate shifting traffic loads on mobile network sites without massive bandwidth over-provisioning. Importantly, MNOs are looking at the segmenting of macro-cells into smaller (femto-, pico-) cells, a trend presenting new challenges for the satellite backhaul vendor.



The Evolution of Communications using Smart Mobile Devices


The conference will explore how the two industries may better mutually benefit from collaboration and cooperation, both today and in the future, Whilst there is no one fixed technological winner known, or expected, in the years ahead, invited panellists, moderators and attendees will have the opportunity provided by this event to share in current leading thoughts, plans and technology developments for a world that will shape, and be shaped by, the evolution of communications using smart mobile devices.


The following four panel sessions will include the following issues, points, and questions – these will evolve and mature as the programme continues to develop.


Programme Highlights......