O3b is a satellite VSAT internet service providing high speed with low latency voice and data communications for remote locations. Currently using 16 Ka band Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites which are positioned between GEO (35700 km) and LEO (2200 km) above the Earths surface.
O3b take their name from the phrase ‘The Other 3 Billion’ which is a reference to the population of the Earth who do not yet have internet access.
The first four satellites were launched in June 2013 with backing from SES, Google, HSBC and many more international companies and is now owned and operated by SES Networks.
Providing satellite internet services to many remote locations, major cruise liners and government agencies providing many GHz of bandwidth with the mPower next generation satellite network will provide terabits of bandwidth.
Advantages of O3b
- The main advantage of O3B is the reduced latency time of the service compared to traditional VSAT service providers who use GEO stationary satellites. The round-trip time of the satellite link is <200 msec. meaning the latency can be less than long haul fibres!
- O3b use steerable spot beams that can track the route of a vessel, like high capacity cruise liners, providing Gbps bandwidth. The spot beams can be directed to areas of high bandwidth demand meaning that the coverage is not wasted in unpopulated areas on the globe.
- By using Ka band, the link is particularly susceptible to rain fade at this frequency.
- Dual tracking antennas are needed to track the MEO satellite and for the hand-off between satellites. This adds considerable expense, installation costs and time. Maritime remotes may require a third antenna to compensate for any blockages.
- The standard coverage is limited to ±45° latitude with limited service coverage at ±62°.