In September (2018), Kymeta conducted a series of field trials with United States federal agents to successfully demonstrate the benefits and feasibility of reliable, seamless communications along the southern border of New Mexico. With partner CopaSAT and trial partners Cradlepoint Inc. and TrellisWare Technologies, Kymeta demonstrated the reliability of its dynamic network capabilities, leveraging both cellular and satellite from a moving platform.
Kymeta’s hybrid model combines satellite and cellular networks for enhanced performance and allows for dynamic traffic management between the networks, enabling cost-effective data routing and other software-defined features.
The Kymeta team successfully demonstrated this hybrid network architecture to field agents operating in a communications degraded environment. The Kymeta terminal provided on-the-move connectivity to SES satellites blended with terrestrial LTE networks using a Cradlepoint software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) router. Access to the network was extended to agents using TrellisWare mobile ad-hoc mesh net (MANET) radios. Agents used existing communications equipment as is, with no modifications or satellite expertise required to access the network. Smart devices, laptops, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), cameras and other communications solutions stayed connected from a moving vehicle, with no disruption in service or network quality.
The architecture leveraged an SD-WAN topology to combine satellite and cellular network technologies. Using SD-WAN is critical, as it enables dynamic backhaul routing using the best backhaul connections available. In a dense urban environment with modern infrastructure, LTE might be the best path. However, in remote areas, satellite is likely best. When both solutions represent beneficial backhaul pathways, the SD-WAN is leveraged to intelligently route data and shape traffic flow. Mission-critical information can be delivered via multiple pathways for redundancy, where high bandwidth traffic such as file sharing can be routed to a separate connection. The SD-WAN decides how best to route data in a dynamic and changing environment so operators can focus on other tasks.
The system provides the added benefit of working with existing communications equipment.
“The combination of these devices and solutions enabled secure and seamless communications from operators in a field environment to other operators and commanders distributed across the country. The system automatically and dynamically switched between cellular and satellite to find the best connection quality. The agents didn’t have to tell the system to switch, it just happened. All the users had to do was connect to the Wi-Fi in their vehicles, and the system did the rest without additional intervention.” — Ben Posthuma, senior solutions engineer at Kymeta
The results of the trial will allow Kymeta to move forward enabling hybridized services to organizations around the world, giving them access to full situational awareness in the field, whether stationary or on the move.
“Traditionally, mobile satellite solutions come in the form of very small aperture terminals (VSAT) mounted on specially designed communications vehicles or deployable field kits that only provide communications when stationary and require a technician to setup and point the antenna. The technology brought by Kymeta demonstrated that reliable satellite communications can exist on virtually any mobile platform, on the move and with little to no operator training or involvement.” — Scott Tatum, director of complex solutions at CopaSAT
“Kymeta eliminates communications challenges in the field by providing a low-profile, mobile SATCOM solution that can deliver mission-critical information regardless of location. The antenna works with existing communications tools exactly how they were purchased to be used and trained to be used. The hybridized solution allows for leveraging existing tools without anyone having to become a SATCOM expert.” — Ben Posthuma