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Huge success for Intelsat, Microsoft satellite-based cloud

By Zach Thompson
Tue 1 Mar 2022

Intelsat has announced the successful demonstration of its private cellular network with Microsoft Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute and FlexEnterprise.

The satellite operator says the demonstration successfully establishes a reference architecture for deploying secure, high-performance private LTE and 5G networks and other cloud services over satellite networks to enterprise locations around the world, including those in remote and difficult environments (such as those with unpredictable weather).

Intelsat is an integrated space and ground satellite network. It currently delivers coverage to more than 200 countries.

The company says it is a foundational architect of satellite technology and is building the first hybrid, multi-orbit, software-defined 5G network designed for simple, seamless, and secure coverage to assist customers in any location.

Intelsat says it is focused on building a unified global 5G network that will support virtually any access technology, enabling the next generation of global mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G services.

Additionally, the company is building Merging software-defined technology and multiple networks and orbits for improved connection.

FlexEnterprise, Intelsat’s satellite-based global connectivity service, enables connectivity to the internet and Azure services.

The demonstration creates a private LTE service using Azure Private 5G Core situated on an Azure Stack Edge device.

The company says this means users can access local business resources through SIM-authenticated connections to Azure Stack Edge via the private cellular network and remote resources through the FlexEnterprise connection, the IntelsatOne global network and Azure.

Intelsat adds that the LTE network powers a Wi-Fi access point and IoT applications.

“As enterprises look to private cellular networks to improve the reach, security, and quality-of-service over Wi-Fi-only local networks, the ability to support deployments at any site is crucial to creating a fully connected organisation,” Intelsat Global Sales Media & Networks senior vice president Jean-Philippe Gillet says.

“The applications demonstrated here with Microsoft highlight the increased automation and standardisation of enterprise data processing services that globally-available private cellular networks will enable.

“Support for high-bandwidth, low-latency networks is central to Intelsat’s vision of an end-to-end ecosystem for a global software-defined 5G network.”

Mobile Experts Inc. expects the global private LTE and 5G equipment and services market to increase at around a 20% compound annual growth rate to approx. $10 billion in 2025.

“At Microsoft, we are committed to enabling an ecosystem of satellite operators through collaborations such as this one with Intelsat,”  Mission Engineering corporate vice president Tom Keane says.

“As the world continues to move to 5G, Microsoft’s Azure Orbital platform, together with our Azure hyper-scale computing platform, allows operators to deploy and maintain faster, easier, and more cost-effective solutions anytime and anywhere.”

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