Why O3b

O3b is all about making the internet global, this section tells you how.

O3b’s ultra-low latency, fiber-speed satellite network is opening up new opportunities to billions of people, who, until now, haven’t experienced all the benefits that come with high-speed broadband.

In many remote inland countries and island nations, fiber simply isn’t a viable option. Telecom providers and system operators are often unable to make the major network investments to reach isolated communities.

The O3b Medium-Earth-Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation was built to solve these challenges with a “fiber speed, satellite reach” solution that breaks through bottlenecks.



One of the most compelling benefits of the O3b offering is ultra-low latency. Latency is the time it takes for information to transit from the earth to the satellite and back again - the delay web users experience when loading a web page or callers hear on their phones.

Based on thorough third-party evaluations and performance verifications, O3b guarantees latencies of less than 150milliseconds.

Low orbit contributes to O3b’s low latency advantage. O3b's Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites orbit at just 8,062km above the Earth, so the signal to and from the satellite has significantly less distance to travel than traditional spacecraft.

Beyond major cities, the price of broadband remains high, fiber infrastructure remains poor, and there is a growing need for enterprise services together with 3G cellular backhaul across large unconnected and underserved areas.

User Experience

Delays in information transfer time can negatively impact the Quality of Experience (QoE), having a significant effect on video, voice and data services. Latency degrades the user experience of interactive websites and cloud-based applications due to its much longer response time.

The result is a frustrating user experience, with web pages and file downloads taking far longer to complete. Just like with voice service delays, the longer the delay in web page loading, the further customer satisfaction falls. Ten seconds is an intolerable eternity for consumers trying to access a web site.

By modernizing their networks – particularly in rural areas – operators are improving their QoE and gaining a significant competitive edge. O3b customers are experiencing:

  • Crystal clear voice and video HD
  • Ultra fast response time
  • Seamless use of cloud based applications
  • Significant improvements in QoE
  • A competitive edge

Ear-to-mouth delays can compromise the quality of a voice call beyond 200 milliseconds. O3b’s roundtrip latency is less than 150 milliseconds opposed to geostationary satellite alternatives with a 500 millisecond delay.

In a survey conducted by Nokia Siemens, it was found that the number one reason for customer churn is dissatisfaction with their current service. It did not come down to pricing. And more notably, the top reason for dissatisfaction was poor voice quality. Better voice quality equates to lower churn rates for mobile operators, which means lower latency will have a positive impact on top-line revenue and bottom line profitability.



Test Results

The O3b system was thoroughly tested using a customer terminal connected over the O3b constellation to the O3b Gateway in Sunset Beach, Hawaii. Results show a superior enterprise performance compared to traditional GEO VSAT services. The measured roundtrip time across the O3b satellite link was less than 150 milliseconds. A variety of popular enterprise applications, such as Web Access, MS Outlook, Unified Communications, videoconferencing and VoIP, were tested on O3b, GEO VSAT and terrestrial Internet. Results demonstrated O3b’s ability to perform on par with fiber, based on response time data. It took O3b six seconds to load an Internet page, for example, while it took a terrestrial Internet link four seconds and the GEO VSAT connection ten seconds.



O3b provides throughputs and low latency backhaul compatible with all forms of last-mile solutions, including 2G, 3G, 4G, WiMAX and LTE, which puts O3b in a unique position to meet the unprecedented demand for mobile broadband.

O3b realizes the critical importance of delivering a high quality voice and data experience for users everywhere. Mobile operators, ISPs and corporate customers remain in search of a solution that delivers the big bandwidth and low latencies they must have to deliver the latest applications wherever they’re needed.

Services such as video streaming, interactive applications; cloud computing, online shopping, instant message, and real-time video and data all gobble up bandwidth.



Test Results

Certification tests demonstrate O3b’s satellite network is fully capable of enabling telcos to extend their mobile networks into remote and underserved regions. 2G, 3G, LTE solutions performed extremely well over O3b’s MEO backhaul network. In fact, when it comes to the all-important voice quality evaluation, O3b was found to be equal to the normal 3G voice quality standard. Video services were equally successful.

Service providers already using O3b’s high bandwidth to boost the quality of their voice, video and data services have greatly improved their customers’ data rates and response times.

O3b is the first operator able to deliver 1.6 Gigabits of bandwidth over a single transponder. The high throughput O3b service provides uncongested, single-hop connectivity to a Global IP backbone.

O3b’s guarantee is clear – at least four times the throughput of traditional satellite providers. Add very low latency to the O3b equation and mobile operators, telcos and ISPs have a viable alternative to terrestrial solutions.