Soheil Mehrabanzad, assistant VP, MENA region, Hughes Network Systems LLC, describes an ongoing project with Yahsat that ranges from deploying four broadband Gateways to supplying more than 10,000 VSAT terminals to YahClick service partners in 28 markets across the MENA region.
What was the client brief for the Gateways, the network control centre and service delivery system?
Yahsat partnered with Hughes to provide a comprehensive satellite network solution with which to operate their new broadband service called “YahClick”.
A critical requirement was that the ground system be “ready for service” or field-proven, as Yahsat wanted to focus its resources on providing service and not trouble-shooting the implementation of a new system
A critical requirement was that the ground system be “ready for service” or field-proven, as Yahsat wanted to focus its resources on providing service and not trouble-shooting the implementation of a new system. In addition, the ground system needed to be feature-rich with the performance to support broadband internet services and the capability to support the specialised needs of enterprise customers. Beyond the Gateway equipment and the remote terminals, Yahsat wanted a complete service delivery and support system that would enable them to create product catalogues (service offerings), take orders, bill service partners, and support the customer help desk. The Hughes solution provided for all of these capabilities.
What were the unique technical aspects of solutions proposed?
Hughes proposed its flagship HN broadband satellite system, the foundation of a satellite internet consumer service with more than 620,000 HughesNet subscribers in North America. A scalable solution, the HN System will enable Yahsat to grow its Gateway investment as the market demand justifies.
Customer terminals supplied with the HN System are the HN9260 and HN9460, that support dual stack IPv4/IPv6 operation, ensuring ‘future-proof’ internet access.
Hughes invented the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) around 25 years ago, and to date has delivered more than 2.8 million terminals to customers in over 100 countries; these latest versions represent the state-of-the art in broadband functionality.
In terms of implementation, give us an idea of the team deployed.
When Hughes kicked-off the programme with Yahsat we realised that virtually every part of our company would be needed to contribute to its successful implementation
This is a significant satellite infrastructure programme, encompassing advanced Ka-band satellite networking technology and comprehensive service scope. In fact, when Hughes kicked-off the programme with Yahsat we realised that virtually every part of our company would be needed to contribute to its successful implementation. From design engineering to programme management, Information Technology, operations and customer support, we drew on our thousands of person-years’ experience across our company, and particularly from our North American colleagues who are responsible for operating HughesNet.
Were there any challenges during implementation? Did the project change in scope and nature during this phase?
As one might expect of a project of this magnitude, there were many challenges; but the Yahsat-Hughes team always found a solution and stayed on schedule. In hindsight, the biggest challenge overall was the short implementation timeframe.
Yahsat signed the contract with Hughes in early 2011. This gave us only about one and a half years to design and implement the complete solution, including the software intensive service delivery system. But everyone knew that failure was not an option.
What is the operations and maintenance portion of the agreement that is currently under way?
With the completion of the initial contract, Hughes is now moving into the operations and maintenance phase of its agreement with Yahsat. In this phase, Hughes is providing outsourced network operations so that Yahsat can focus its resources on the establishment of the YahClick service and its distribution network.