Hughes Communications India is a majority-owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, the leading global broadband satellite network and service provider.
Hughes offers advanced solutions for governments and businesses and is present across sectors including, banking, education, defense, telecom, energy and retail.
Analytics India Magazine caught up with Shivaji Chatterjee, Sr. Vice President, Enterprise Business, Hughes Communications India to understand more about the company.
AIM: What are the services and products Hughes communications offer?
Shivaji Chatterjee: We provide a comprehensive range of broadband networking technologies, solutions, and services for businesses and governments, including Managed Services to meet every communications challenge.
Our services include Managed SD-WAN solutions, Satellite Broadband services, system integration etc. Under these services, we have various products, including HughesON SD-WAN solution, HughesNet® SME Broadband for Business, JUPITER System – the world’s most advanced VSAT platform, and Cellular backhaul solutions.
AIM: Tell us about JUPITER System
Shivaji Chatterjee: JUPITER™ System is a next-generation very small aperture terminal (VSAT) platform from Hughes for broadband services over high-throughput and conventional satellites. It is the world’s most advanced VSAT platform, with a single stream DVB-S2X wideband forward channel. Hughes also has its own JUPITER world-class HTS and VHTS satellites to complement the JUPITER VSAT Ground system.
With its flexible and robust gateway architecture with lights-out operation, enhanced IPoS air interface for bandwidth efficiency and performance, and high-throughput terminals, JUPITER enables operators to achieve the highest possible capacity and efficiency for any satellite broadband implementation. The foundational technology is the powerful JUPITER System on a Chip (SoC), a custom-designed VLSI processor employing a multi-core architecture and enabling 300 Mbps of throughput on every terminal of the JUPITER family. The JUPITER System is ideal for broadband satellite applications, ranging from home internet service to in-flight WiFi.
In today’s world, connectivity is a necessity, and it needs to be accessible at any time, anywhere and to everyone. And, satellite plays a crucial role in realising this. We committed to connecting millions of people with the JUPITER system and reaching the remote areas where terrestrial networks can’t get. JUPITER System enables various solutions, including Broadband implementation, community WiFi, fixed cellular backhaul, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and connectivity.
AIM: What are the major research projects undertaken by Hughes Communications?
Shivaji Chatterjee: Under Atmanirbhar Bharat, we have been building our Hughes India product portfolio across satellite, wireless and SD-WAN domains. A lot of research has gone into understanding the unique needs of Indian customers and building products that best suit their needs. We have deployed these products in a multitude of projects across banking, government, defense, education and retail segments.
For the Bharatnet project, Hughes enabled high-speed satellite connectivity to 5,000 remote gram panchayats using capacity from ISRO’s GSAT-19 and GSAT-11 satellites with the Hughes JUPITER™ System, which is the de facto standard for satellite broadband implementations and is in use on over 40 satellites worldwide. It is part of the government’s flagship BharatNet Program to provide broadband connectivity to all 250,000 gram panchayats throughout India.
We also have done a lot of research on 4G Backhauling in Rural areas using the right satellite technology. We have deployed 4G backhauls on HTS (High Throughput Satellite), which is the latest technology deployed for the very first time in the country.
AIM: Tell us about Hughes journey in India in the last 25 years
Shivaji Chatterjee: Satellite communication has been a critical highlight of India’s growth story over the years. HCIPL started its commercial operation in 1995 and since then has played a pivotal role in addressing the connectivity needs for industries and continues to do so in building the ‘Digital India’. Hughes has made critical contributions to the growth of banking, education, digital cinema, telecom, oil & energy, government, Maritime and defense, having provided crucial communication support for defence forces and enabling connectivity during disasters. The various lines of business are:
- VSAT High-Speed and Thin-route Bandwidth Services
- Satcom System Integration
- Managed Network Services
- Maritime and Aero Mobility
In 2019, Hughes became the first operator in India to receive a Flight and Maritime Connectivity (FMC) license from the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Hughes is among the first to provide inflight connectivity and high-quality broadband services to Indian and foreign airlines and shipping companies operating within Indian territory. We have already set up a Hub with mobility platform and are currently in discussion with concerned operators to enhance the connectivity over the skies—within Indian airspace.
Besides, our teams consistently deliver results, scaling new heights, improving operational efficiencies and market reach to provide enterprise and government networks solutions. Hughes Communications made substantial all-around progress gaining new contracts and supporting our existing partners with their enhanced connectivity requirements.
AIM: What is SD-WAN and why is it important for businesses?
Shivaji Chatterjee: SD-WAN, or software-defined wide-area network, uses software to control the connectivity, management, and services between data centres and remote branches or cloud instances. The traditional WAN (wide-area network) function was to connect users at the branch or site to applications hosted on servers in the data centre. All the traffic gets backhauled through data centres before routing to internet cloud applications, thereby increasing costs, bandwidth inefficiencies, increased latency, and poor application quality of experience. But the arrangement doesn’t work in a cloud-centric world.
However, to cope with the rapidly changing business environment and digital transformation, SD-WAN came into the picture and addressed the challenges. SD-WAN is more flexible and better at supporting a distributed and mobile workforce – connecting all devices with a set of network services and monitoring each of these services’ current availability and performance. SD-WAN brings significant advantages of network security with encrypted network traffic, network segmentation, a central provisioning system, increased visibility into the WAN, and optimising overall network performance.
On a global scale in the US, Brazil, Europe, Hughes has done a lot of work in the SD-WAN space that has enabled Hughes India to launch and provision SD-WAN services in India. At Hughes India, we are leveraging all the work done by Hughes globally and adapting the local, in a fantastic ecosystem that India offers to provide new SD-WAN services to India’s enterprises. We have pioneered harnessing from 2G-to 3G -to 4G and bringing that to the enterprise.
AIM: How is the SD-WAN industry changing in India?
Shivaji Chatterjee: With enterprises across India increasingly embracing the digital revolution and looking to upgrade and modernise their corporate network, SD-WAN managed services are growing fast and gaining traction as an alternative to legacy network services. Besides, COVID-19 has put more emphasis on finding more secure remote connectivity solutions. Demands on business-critical networks are snowballing primarily due to remote working, growing usage of video platforms and the introduction of IoT.
The SD-WAN market continues to expand, and more and more enterprises are increasingly recognizing the benefits of SD-WAN connectivity solutions. As per a recent Frost & Sullivan report on the Indian SD-WAN market, companies want their network to have the ability to change network policies automatically as per the requirement of workloads and applications of the organiSation. They also prefer the network capabilities that are easy to expand and deploy in newer branches/capacities. In such cases, SD-WAN technology serves as an ideal solution in addressing the various needs of always-on network infrastructure.
AIM: What is the company’s mission and roadmap for 2021?
Shivaji Chatterjee: As an organisation, we’re focused on addressing the unique connectivity requirements for both individuals and businesses. There is an increasing demand for our products, services, and solutions, with companies adopting remote work culture post-pandemic. We combine the best of satellite, wireless, and terrestrial technologies to offer unique, differentiated solutions to address the connectivity needs of enterprises and the governments. We are very excited about what the future holds – with our business expanding in multiple directions.
There are many exciting upcoming projects based on Mobility, SD-WAN, Cloud access, 4G and Wifi backhauling, and IoT projects. Besides, there is a growing emphasis on oil retail automation and technology upgrades in large defence projects.
Moreover, the pandemic has also highlighted the gaps in residential broadband infrastructure. As we progress, we will aim to deliver the consumer broadband segment over satellite- just like DTH brought satellite via television to India’s mass consumer market.
AIM: Tell us about your company’s position in the Managed Services and SD-WAN industry
Shivaji Chatterjee: There are two types of non-satellite-based services that we offer. One is on the 4G networking – we work with all the 4G service providers to offer enterprise sim cards. We can combine them and provide integrated managed services – a popular service among enterprise customers. We have deployed over 19,000 links in the last two years to various enterprise companies who like this because, in India, there used to be only MPLS and VSAT. Users can now use the wireless network along with 3G & 4G as an enterprise solution. We call that solution HughesON, and it is future proof for 5G.
Just last year, we started the SD-WAN services in India, and our idea of SD-WAN is not to just apply technology but to provide it as a managed service. We provide a hosted model for this. We host it on a cloud and offer all the advantages to a customer of SD-WAN, mainly about having a centrally managed system, virtualized devices, and easy zero-touch provisioning. Again, our SD-WAN solutions are India-centric catering to the unique needs of the Indian enterprise with the right-fit features that provide the right balance between cost and functionality.
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I am a journalist with a postgraduate degree in computer network engineering. When not reading or writing, one can find me doodling away to my heart’s content.