Satellite Technology Feature Article
Metaswitch Adds Voice to Inmarsat Global Xpress Services
By Doug Mohney, Contributing Editor
Inmarsat (News - Alert) has selected Metaswitch to provide a suite of IP communications products for its Global Xpress voice services. Among the products to be used for Global Xpress voice services are Metaswitch Universal Media gateways, MetaSphere Multimedia Telephony Applications Server, the MetaView Network management System and Perimeta Session Border Controllers.
Based on Ka-band technology, Inmarsat Global Xpress will be launched this year, with full global coverage available by late 2014. Three new Inmarsat-5 satellites will make up the network, each carrying a whopping 89 Ka-band beams. Boeing (News - Alert) is building the three satellites using its 702 HP platform, incorporating the latest triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells to generate 14 kilowatts of payload power throughout a 15 year design life. The satellites also use Boeing's xenon ion propulsion system for station keeping.
Global Xpress will provide high-speed mobile broadband services, with downlink speeds up to 50 Mbps and uplink speeds of 5 Mbps. to customer terminals from 20 centimeters to 50 centimeters in size. The first Inmarsat-5 is scheduled to launch onboard a Russian Proton in the second half of this year, followed by the second satellite in the first quarter of 2014 and the last by the end of 2014. Once all three satellites are in orbit, coverage will extend to all of the Earth's landmass and oceans with the exception of the North and South Poles.
Initially, Global Xpress services will be available through portable and maritime terminals. In-flight aircraft services are expected to become available in the first quarter of 2015, subject to testing and certification. Markets for Global Xpress include government users; naval, airborne and tactical military users; ministries of foreign affairs; emergency response agencies and aid agencies; the oil, gas, media, VSAT networks and telecommunications sectors.
Since Global Xpress is an IP broadband network, it needs VoIP services to deliver voice communications. While it's easy to take VoIP for granted in many ways, the reality is Inmarsat's Global Xpress can be compared to terrestrial LTE (News - Alert) networks -- both are all IP, implementing voice as a service on top of the broadband network.
Metaswitch and Inmarsat are extending a relationship started last year. In February 2012, Inmarsat selected Metaswitch to support its FleetBroadband maritime communications service, a communications service providing broadband voice and data. Metaswitch Universal Media Gateways and the MetaSphere Multimedia Telephone Applications Service were deployed to Inmarsat network hubs in Western Europe and the Pacific Rim, with control from Inmarsat's global headquarters in London.
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Edited by Rich Steeves