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According to Neville Meijers, Kymeta’s chief strategy and marketing officer, the tests of satellite acquisition, tracking, and throughput — conducted in June and July in Toulouse, France — should bode well for providing always-there mobile connectivity for first responders as well as for government, military and enterprise customers.
OneWeb is a constellation venture partly owned by the British government, with Airbus being one of its key partners and has its headquarters in the Toulouse region.
Kymeta has made Hybrid cellular satellite connectivity applications commercially available since last year with its u8 terminal. Modifications have been made to it allow the OneWeb’s network to hook nearly 300 satellites in low Earth orbit or LEO
The system is able to receive signals at a rate of about 200 megabits per second and transmit at more than 40 Mbps, with latencies of 30 to 70 milliseconds. According to Meijers, Latency — the time that’s required to receive signals at the speed of light — is a key advantage of LEO constellations. The shorter the time, the better the response for applications such as videoconferencing.
He further said, “A typical GEO [geostationary Earth orbit] network would be in the range of 600 milliseconds. A typical LTE [cellular] network would be somewhere in the region of 40 to 80 milliseconds.”
Valery Gineste, OneWeb’s senior director of technology, in a news release said “The u8 will offer another great choice for OneWeb’s customers, particularly those with constrained space requirements or who need communications on the move. ”
Meijers is confident based on the Toulouse test that Kymeta’s OneWeb terminal would become available in mid-2022. The company will make the terminal operation by the second half of 2022 with the capability to switch between GEO and LEO automatically. This will attract many defense customers who would like to switch between high-security GEO and low-latency LEO channels. The addition of first responders will be the initial market Kymeta will target.
OneWeb will start providing broadband internet services in Arctic regions by the end of this year. It also aims to provide full global coverage by mid-2022. OneWeb connectivity will be available through Kymeta’s u8 terminal, one of several other options.
Meijers made it clear theirs is not a product home consumers, though it can’t be ruled out in the future. It can be used with mobility-type products needed for autonomous vehicles, connected cars, busing, mining, trucking, and agriculture. Making it clear the company is focused on building products for that sector of the market
Finally, he said, “All I can say is that we work with all of the LEO constellations out there,” he said. “We think that both OneWeb and Starlink are really driving huge change in the satellite industry, and we welcome that. … Competition validates the business model that we’re going after, and we welcome working with all of the LEO and GEO players out there in the market.”
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