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As globalization continues apace, major corporations and organizations are responding to the challenges and opportunities afforded by going global. No longer is it possible for a company to limit itself to the US market, especially when much of the economic growth is occurring outside of the US in emerging markets. Indeed, many of the leading Fortune 500 companies have more employees and obtain greater revenue from outside the US.

For IT managers, this presents a whole new series of challenges, namely, how can they ensure that their employees in remote Offices in receive the same level of access, security and support for critical business applications that those in US Offices do?

Just to take one example, in the US, oil and gas companies may still be able to access fiber and/or high speed wireless networks even for locations outside of major cities. What happens, however, when these organizations establish operations in the Nigerian Delta, the hinterlands of Iraq or on floating drilling rigs offshore from Brazil?

One option IT managers are increasingly turning to for their most remote connectivity needs is satellite communications. While satellite has historically been perceived by IT managers as being slow, expensive and unreliable, the satellite industry has in fact undergone dramatic changes in the last decade, and satellite technology now allows for the provisioning of IP services which are every bit as robust and secure as terrestrial telecommunications.

Leading satellite technology vendors now provide technology with the following features:

  • Pure IP networks with the ability to handle data, VOIP and video communications;
  • Ability to handle critical enterprise applications such as Citrix, SAP, Oracle and others;
  • Ability to create Virtual Private Networks, using the connection oriented features of MPLS, as per the diagram below;
  • The use of advanced TDMA technologies that significantly reduce costs and increase scalability across large satellite networks;
  • Ability to handle unique applications and vertical markets such as business continuity, maritime connectivity and other types of communications on the move applications, and emergency management response for governments that increasingly must plan for natural disasters.

While it is indeed true that terrestrial connectivity via fiber will always be the first and most rational choice for the connectivity needs of large organizations, IT organizations would do well to familiarize themselves with the with the changes that have transformed the satellite industry in the last ten years.

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