Q: Why is it important for O3b satellites to be ‘close-to-Earth’?

A: Standard Geosynchronous (GEO) satellites operate approximately 36,000km away from Earth. As a result, round-trip data transmission times significantly exceed 500 milliseconds. O3b’s Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites are far closer – approximately 8,000km from Earth. As a result, round-trip data transmission times are reduced to less than 150 milliseconds.

This virtually eliminates the delay that plagues voice and data communications over GEO satellite systems. For example, it users can download a web page four times faster.

Q: What types of antenna will be used by O3b Networks?

A: O3b’s system employs parabolic antennas, which can handle large chunks of data. This helps O3b to deliver an ultra-low-latency trunking solution.

Q: In what frequency band will O3b Networks operate?

A: O3b satellites will deliver services on a dedicated Ka band. Benefits of this frequency include very large bandwidth availability, a low utilisation by existing satellite systems and the ability to use smaller antennas.

Our dedicated Ka band will enable O3b to provide Gigabytes of capacity via its satellite transponders.

Q: Why does O3b Networks use an equatorial orbit?

A: An equatorial orbit enables O3b to maintain permanent coverage of the Earth using a relatively low number of satellites. Indeed, at a distance of 8,062km, just six satellites would be sufficient to achieve constant coverage.

Q: Can O3b Networks expand its satellite fleet?

A: O3b is positioning its satellites in an orbit 8,062km from Earth. This orbit is free from the obstruction of other devices, making it easy for O3b to launch additional new satellites as demand for services grows.

The initial O3b constellation includes twelve satellites. Further satellites will be added in the future to expand capacity and meet growing demand.

Q: How do the satellites’ on-board antennas work?

A: O3b Networks’ satellites are equipped with steerable antennas, which—like those used on imaging satellites—have the ability to remain locked onto a fixed location on Earth as the satellite passes overhead.

Q: What is O3b Networks’ coverage zone?

A: O3b Networks was founded to provide affordable and high-quality internet connectivity across emerging markets. The coverage zone between +/- 45 degrees of latitude was defined in order to deliver services to almost all emerging-markets countries, with optimal cost efficiency, though coverage reaches to +/- 62 degrees of latitude.

Q: Can O3b Networks change the configuration of its payload?

A: The use of a multi-satellite MEO constellation—with each satellite supporting a configurable RF (Radio Frequencies) payload—enables O3b Networks to continually adapt its communications services in response to customers’ changing needs.