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Satnews Daily
March 8th, 2018

SES Announces Partnerships for O3b mPOWER Terminals

SES has introduced ALCAN, Isotropic Systems and Viasat as new technology partners for O3b mPOWER which, according to SES Networks, is their groundbreaking satellite-based communications system — these three companies have been contracted by SES to develop smart, high-throughput terminal solutions, a building block in the system’s ground infrastructure innovation roadmap.

Developed with leading technology partners, O3b mPOWER Customer Edge Terminals (CET) will combine innovative steerable antenna technology with functionality spanning modem, networking and edge compute capabilities. The O3b mPOWER CET will deliver advanced network capability in form factors optimized for market specific cost, performance and power that are quick and simple to install, a key part of the strategy to scale SES Networks’ proven Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) system for mass connectivity.

ALCAN, Isotropic Systems and Viasat each have unique, innovative and alternative approaches for the antenna technology, enabling SES Networks and its O3b mPOWER ecosystem with the best possible solutions for its customer market needs. This development strategy plays a critical role in making it faster, easier and more affordable to expand service reach for both SES Networks and its customers in the dynamic mobility, fixed data and government markets.

Artistic rendition: SES O3b mPower.

O3b mPOWER ecosystem of partners
O3b mPOWER creates a unique ecosystem of technology partners in space segment, ground infrastructure and software innovation. In addition to accelerating time to market for new technologies that bring scale to SES Networks, this approach to working together with industry partners in an open, collaborative, standards-based ecosystem will help make satellite a more seamless and mainstream part of global, cloud-scale data networking.


The O3b mPOWER technology partners each bring a differentiated approach to providing innovative technology for SES Networks’ CET:


  • ALCAN is working to develop a smart antenna that is flat, low power, and has no mechanical moving parts. The antenna has electronic beam steering capability, which is implemented using liquid crystal (LC) panels that can be manufactured at low cost in LC display assembly lines
  • Isotropic Systems is developing a low-cost, low power, unlimited instantaneous bandwidth, optical-based, multi-beam electronically steered terminal that can transmit and receive high bandwidth signals in the same modular and scalable aperture
  • Viasat is designing and building an all-electronic dual-beam flat panel antenna system to meet the requirements of the O3b mPOWER next-generation MEO satellite fleet. The Viasat antenna is based on proprietary flat panel core technology, a new radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit and a modular approach that will enable multiple types of user terminals to keep pace with growing broadband connectivity demands


At the heart of the unique O3b mPOWER system will be seven super-powered MEO satellites, with more than 30,000 dynamic, electronically-generated fully-shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time. The fleet, built by Boeing, is scheduled for launch in 2021 and is scalable to multiple terabits of throughput globally, providing coverage to an area of nearly 400 million square kilometres. 

Dr. Onur Karabey, the CEO at ALCAN, said the company is delighted to have achieved this milestone and are looking forward to working with SES to develop a low-cost and low-power flat panel antenna for SES and their MEO constellation. At ALCAN, the firm is excited to be developing these ground-breaking smart antennas and are ideally positioned to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile and connected world.

John Finney,the  founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems, noted that users and service providers worldwide are demanding greater access to broadband, and satellite-based network providers such as SES have the opportunity to deliver ubiquitous connectivity services to these potential customers with new and existing HTS capacity at all orbits. The company's partnership with SES Networks will help to further develop and deploy the firm's terminal technology. Their new Customer Edge Terminals aim to dramatically change satellite communications by providing cost-effective, high-throughput capacity for global users who lack much-needed connectivity.

Kevin Harkenrider, the President, Commercial Networks at Viasat, added that as part of Viasat’s commitment to broadband satellite services, the company has made some significant advancements in ground infrastructure and terminal technologies. Viasat looks forward to being an integral part of SES’ O3b mPOWER ecosystem and believe the company's flat panel technology will help create compelling end-to-end experiences for SES Networks and its end-users.