Monday, August 21, 2006

Hughes Validates SPACEWAY Broadband IP Capabilities

Hughes Network Systems completed a 30-day program of over-the-air (OTA) testing of the broadband IP capabilities of DIRECTV's SPACEWAY 2 satellite. Hughes was able to conduct performance tests in the areas of transmission, user traffic stability and reliability, air interface protocols, user network interfaces, and back-end systems for billing and customer service.

The verification of hardware and software systems were in preparation for the launch of SPACEWAY 3, scheduled for early 2007, with commercial service planned later in the year.

Hughes developed the SPACEWAY system with Boeing as the major subcontractor on the space segment components. As a full IP-based system, SPACEWAY supports a large variety of web, data, voice, and video services for both unicast and multicast applications in a standards-compliant fashion. SPACEWAY terminals also implement custom enhancement proxies for application acceleration using TCP and HTTP protocols.

Hughes has built a scalable Network Operations and Control Center (NOCC), installed at its Germantown Maryland headquarters, which anchors control functions for network addressing, registration, network security, admission control and multicasting. The NOCC also provides satellite payload management, capacity planning, terminal management, customer care and network management functions. The SPACEWAY architecture can scale up to two million terminals per satellite and will provide coverage with multiple spot beams across the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as in selected areas in Canada, Mexico, and major cities in South America.

Hughes said the successful completion of these tests has validated the SPACEWAY design, large-scale software development, and custom ASIC and hardware development for small format terminals.

  • In December 2005, Hughes Network System (HNS) awarded a launch services contract to Sea Launch for the launch of the SPACEWAY 3 satellite projected for early 2007.

    The SPACEWAY 3 satellite will operate in the globally assigned Ka-band spectrum at 95 degrees West Longitude and will support a range of new high-speed communications services for IP data and multimedia applications to North American enterprise, consumer, and government customers.

    SPACEWAY 3 is a Boeing 702 spacecraft and will have the ability to switch and route traffic on board, enabling single-hop communications between any two satellite terminals and eliminating the need for the traffic to be routed through a central hub earth station. SPACEWAY's advanced antenna technology allows the dynamic formation and shaping of spot beams, creating the opportunity to manage capacity flexibly and to deliver true bandwidth-on-demand services.

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