Frequently Asked Questions
WHO IS AVANTI COMMUNICATIONS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Avanti Communications is a British satellite operator who provide bandwidth and solutions to enterprises, mobile operators, governments, satellite integrators and telecommunications companies throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Through the HYLAS satellite fleet and partners in 118 countries, the network provides ubiquitous internet service to a quarter of the world’s population. Avanti delivers the level of quality and flexibility that the most demanding telecoms customers in the world seek.
Avanti is the first mover in high throughput satellite data communications in EMEA. It has rights to orbital slots and Ka-band spectrum in perpetuity that covers an end market of over 1.7bn people. The Group has invested $1.2bn in a network that incorporates satellites, Gateway Earth Stations, datacentres and a fibre ring. Avanti has a unique Cloud-based customer interface that is protected by patented technology.
WHAT SECTORS DOES AVANTI SERVE?
The flexibility and reliability of Avanti’s network enables Avanti to cover multiple sectors.
These core sectors are:
- Broadband Access
- Government – Security/Defence and Civil
WHAT IS KA-BAND TECHNOLOGY?
Ka-band (“kay-ay band”) is a portion of the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum defined as frequencies in the range 26.5–40 gigahertz (GHz), i.e. wavelengths from slightly over one centimetre down to 7.5 millimetres. The band is called Ka, short for “K-above” because it is the upper part of the original NATO K band, which was split into three bands because of the presence of the atmospheric water vapour resonance peak at 22.24 GHz, (1.35 cm) which made the centre unusable for long-range transmission.
The 30/20 GHz band is used in communications satellites, uplink in either the 27.5 GHz and 31 GHz bands, and high-resolution, close-range targeting radars aboard military airplanes. Some frequencies in this radio band are used for vehicle speed detection by law enforcement. The Kepler Mission uses this frequency range to downlink the scientific data collected by the space telescope.
The designation “Ka-band” is from Kurz-above, which stems from the German word “kurz” meaning short.
In satellite communications, Ka-band allows higher bandwidth communication. Ka-band is more susceptible to rain attenuation than is Ku-band, which in turn is more susceptible than C band.
The frequency is commonly used by cosmic microwave background experiments.
The 5th generation mobile networks will also partially overlap with Ka-band (28, 38, and 60 GHz).
WHY KA-BAND TECHNOLOGY?
Ka-band technology allows for smaller terminals, dramatically lower costs as well as offering greater throughput than similar sized Ku systems. This is perfectly suited for customers on the move (e.g. remote office, media broadcast or military), and in other applications where terminal size and weight are important factors in making purchasing decisions.
As Ka-band is at the top of the commercially available frequency range, it is somewhat more complex to provide high availability and reliable services as compared with lower frequencies. However, Avanti has an extremely well-developed and growing network of Ground stations which mitigates adverse weather conditions and ensures a 99.9% service uptime for customers.
For Military users, Ka has arguably the most benefits and offers notable efficiencies over Ku. For example, Ka-band is the only frequency where the commercial and military bands have been allocated adjacent to each other (29.0-30.0 GHz and 30.0-31.0 GHz respectively), and as a result, military end users can more easily complement their MilSatCom capacity with commercial bandwidth using a single terminal. Ka-band advocates say that this makes terminal development easier and more affordable, since a simplified terminal design can operate flexibly across a variety of commercial and military resources.
DOES THE WEATHER AFFECT SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS?
There is a perception that Ka-band satellite communications are more susceptible than C or Ku-band to extreme weather conditions.
To combat this perception Avanti has focussed on designing robust and resilient systems which continue operating in extreme atmospheric conditions, through:
Spot Beams. These are focussed beams which ‘punch’ through rain, snow or ice flakes, and have been specifically designed for the climatic conditions of the areas they cover.
Automatic Level Control (ALC). This allows adjustments to be made to the transmission power from the satellite. If the satellite detects falling power levels from the Ground Earth Station (GES) it is able to automatically adjust the amplification levels to compensate.
Uplink Power Control (UPC). This monitors the power of received transmissions from both the GES and VSAT terminals, in real time. If the GES or VSAT terminals detect a reduction in power they instruct the transmitting device to increase its power level.
Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM). This allows terminals to adjust to their link conditions. This means they can optimise their spectral efficiency under clear sky conditions, and also dynamically shift to lower spectral efficiency, but more robust link configuration during periods of extreme weather.
With these contingencies in place only a small number of Avanti’s end users have experienced service degradation, and those that do have had their service resumed promptly.
During December 2011, when Scotland experienced extreme winds, Avanti is proud to report that fewer than 2% of their end user customers in Scotland experienced any form of service degradation.
IS SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY AFFECTED BY LATENCY?
All communication services experience latency of some degree. Satellite technology experiences an average latency of 500-700ms due to any communication request being made having to travel 22,300 miles (35,738 km) to Avanti’s satellite. From there, the signal travels another 22,300 miles back to earth, to the satellite service provider, where it is routed to the internet, data is exchanged, and is then sent 22,300 miles back to the satellite. Once the satellite receives the information, the requested data must then travel the final 22,300 miles back to the user.
The latency effect may cause a slight delay, however Avanti’s incorporated network technology optimises network protocols and masks the effects of latency. This ensures the delivery of a terrestrial comparable user experience to most latency sensitive applications.
WHAT IS THE AVANTI ADVANTAGE?
Avanti’s network was designed with reliability and flexibility at the core, meaning it can deliver higher quality services to a wider range of market sectors. The advantages are summarised below
- Full Coverage
Avanti has designed its fleet to offer 100% national coverage of primary countries. Our beam patterns overlap, so there are no in-country coverage gaps.
- High Spectral Density
Avanti’s network design means that Service Providers can use the smallest possible terminals providing a cheaper, attractive and more efficient way of delivering bandwidth to their customers.
- Smart Beam Clustering
Avanti’s beam clusters land in a single earth station in the relevant country or region. Service Providers who want a national service only need to operate through a single hub.
- Diverse Networks
Avanti’s ground network is protected from atmospheric events. In the unlikely event of service degradation, we automatically switch to our redundant ground earth station. Customers experience no atmospheric outages at the gateway.
- Multi-Vendor Platform
Service Providers often have preferences for vendor hardware. Avanti operates an open architecture enabling the use of any vendor’s hub or modem.
- Contracting Flexibility
Service Providers can choose from three methods of operation/contract to suit their own risk appetite, technical capability and which they can change between as the business evolves.
- Operational Support System (OSS)
Our proprietary OSS, backed up by high levels of training and support, allows Service Providers to configure and manage service as if they owned the satellite fleet.
- Advanced Applications
Service Providers have the flexibility to form their own applications from Avanti’s cloud or pick plug-and-play applications to deploy directly into their target markets.
HOW MANY SATELLITES DOES AVANTI OPERATE AND WHAT ARE THE CAPABILITIES OF EACH SATELLITE?
Avanti operates 4 satellites, HYLAS 1, HYLAS 2, HYLAS 2B (via ground operations from Germany) and HYLAS 4:
- HYLAS 1
HYLAS 1 is Avanti’s first satellite, which launched in 2010. The satellite uses the latest Ka-band technology to deliver high speed, reliable and secure communications across the UK and Europe. HYLAS 1 has a unique and flexible payload which enables Avanti to change the bandwidth of its eight Ka-band beams whilst in orbit, maximising the satellite’s efficiency.
- HYLAS 2
Launched in 2012, HYLAS 2 uses high throughput Ka-band technology to deliver ultra-fast data communications. The spacecraft has 24 fixed beams and one steerable beam. HYLAS 2 provides customers with the flexibility to address current and future markets across Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Africa.
- HYLAS 2B
HYLAS 2B provides 100% Ka-band coverage of Germany and Poland, with extensive coverage of surrounding European countries and the Baltic Sea.
- HYLAS 4
HYLAS 4 launched in 2018 and doubles Avanti’s capacity. The spacecraft has 64 fixed beams serving 35 countries across Africa and Europe, as well as four independent steerable beams able to address markets across Africa, Europe and Latin America.
These satellites cover 27% of the World’s population; 65% of the World’s 20 fastest growing economies; 118 countries covered and a total Land Area of 139.072m SQ KM; a population of 5.3bn; a GDP of $62.419tn and a GNI of $65.933tn.
HOW MUCH GROUND INFRASTRUCTURE DOES AVANTI HAVE AND WHERE ARE THEY PLACED GLOBALLY?
Avanti has dual-redundant Gateway Earth Stations (GES) across Europe the Middle East and Africa to ensure no single points of failure and resulting in a claimed 99.9% uptime service level.
The company has GES in the following locations:
- Goonhilly (UK)
- Berlin and Hamelin (Germany)
- Konya (Turkey)
- Dakkar (Senegal) – currently being built
- Lagos (Nigeria)
- Johannesburg (South Africa)
Avanti has planned future dual-redundant GES in Kenya and Tanzania.
Avanti also operates Point of Presence (PoP) stations in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Istanbul.