Is satellite undergoing a renaissance?

* Using satellite to plug coverage holes

Extending user mobility via satellite is gathering steam, as access modems grow smaller and services become more readily available to the average enterprise.

Because satellite coverage nearly blankets the entire earth, such services keep users connected in places with sparse cellular coverage. They can also be useful in disaster recovery, remote surveillance, and other applications.

Remote access service aggregator iPass kicked off the bundled satellite service trend early this year, when it added INMARSAT Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite service – along with EV-DO cellular service in select countries – to its portfolio of aggregated access services and integrated front-end access client.

Last month, Verizon Business announced that it is reselling BGAN equipment and satellite service from Thrane & Thrane to its U.S.-based business customers. Thrane & Thrane sells access hardware and satellite service time on the INMARSAT primarily to maritime, aerospace, and land mobile organizations.

The deal with Verizon Business extends the access to general enterprise mobile workers, who use modem devices as small as a closed paperback book to access the satellite services. The network offers theoretical maximum speeds of 496Kbps upstream and downstream.

Interestingly, Verizon hasn’t integrated the service with its Access Manager front-end access client software. It also hasn’t integrated it with cellular service offerings from Verizon Wireless or linked the Thrane &Thrane IP network to its own backbone services.

However, Stephanie Souder, product marketing manager of emerging technology at Verizon Business, said her company is working on Verizon Business-Thrane & Thrane network integration so enterprises can access their Verizon Business WAN backbone services via satellite.

“For now, the first offering is Internet access,” she said.

Finally, last week wireless LAN maker Aruba Networks said it had conducted WLAN-to-satellite integration testing with broadband satellite service provider iDirect, which has certified Aruba WLANs to interconnect to iDirect’s satellite platform. As a result, enterprises can extend their Aruba WLAN connections using a satellite WAN. Laptops, wireless scanners, Wi-Fi handsets and Wi-Fi cameras and sensors can communicate over the network for end-to-end wireless connectivity, which should aid some organizations in their business continuity and remote mobile surveillance efforts.

Note, also, that Aruba has just announced a new product set and strategy for moving its customers into the imminent 802.11n high-speed networking environment.

Editor's note: Starting Nov. 12 week, you will notice a number of enhancements to Network World newsletters that will provide you with more resources and more news links relevant to the newsletter's subject. Beginning Monday, Nov. 12, the Wireless in the Enterprise Newsletter, written by Joanie Wexler, will be merged with the Wireless News Alert and will be named the Wireless Alert. You'll get Joanie's analysis of the wireless market, which you will be able to read in full at NetworkWorld.com, plus links to the day's wireless news and other relevant resources. This Alert will be mailed on Mondays and Wednesdays. We hope you will enjoy the enhancements and we thank you for reading Network World newsletters.

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