Satellite and Wi-Fi combine to deliver cost-effective broadband up to 100 Mbps in rural areas

October 12, 2015 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
EUSANET, a leading German provider of satellite-based broadband access and Eutelsat Broadband have joined forces to deliver a groundbreaking broadband for rural German communities by combining satellite-based Internet services with Wi-Fi networks.

The system sets new benchmarks for rural connectivity with the capability to deliver download speeds of up to 100 Mbps to individuals in communities of several hundred homes – outstripping the capabilities of mobile LTE technology. Further, these broadband services can be delivered quickly and without large-scale construction work in regions un- and underserved with ADSL infrastructures.

The Black Forest community of Oberried / St. Wilhelm is the first to benefit. The network went live at the end of September and combines service from the Eutelsat KA-SAT satellite with a high-speed wireless network based on the latest Wi-Fi technology. This combined system currently delivers download speeds of up to 30 Mpbs and uplink speeds of up to 5 Mbps per household but could be upgraded further in the future. The internet access service is complemented by Voice-over-IP telephony services. The first tests to supply households with TV over the same system are also under way. This additional innovation would allow communities in some mountainous areas to receive terrestrial television for the first time.

To receive the service, customers need just a 12cm external antenna to access EUSANET broadband. At the heart of the community system are satellite dishes with reception and transmitting units connected to the Internet via the high throughput satellite KA-SAT. Based in the community are a server, router, satellite modems and the latest wireless units. Three radio cells, with a reach of several kilometers, supply the households using free and public frequencies. Additional radio cells outside the community of St. Wilhelm are also under construction to extend the service.

“The great innovation here is the ability to combine the speed and reach of the broadband service using the latest generation of satellite and Wi-Fi technology,’ explained Stephan Schott, Managing Director of EUSANET GmbH. “Each home connected to the system is equipped with a receiver and antenna, which means each home helps transmit the signal to the next – vastly extending the reach of the service over several kilometers. This is particular important in mountainous regions where traditionally the reach of Wi-Fi and mobile service is vastly restricted by the topography.”