Inmarsat has unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, a future communication network. According to the company, Inmarsat ORCHESTRA will bring together existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G into an integrated, high-performance solution. Whether for a ship in a crowded port, an aircraft preparing to land at LAX, or a defence force deployed in a remote location, ORCHESTRA is designed to meet evolving connectivity needs in the mobility market with a service unmatched by any competitor offering, planned or in existence.
ORCHESTRA is expected to open up new and previously unattainable possibilities for industries across the world. New services include:
- close-shore navigation for autonomous vessels
- next-generation emergency safety services for maritime crews
- secure and tactical private networks for governments
- direct-to-cloud connections for airlines
New segments set to benefit from ORCHESTRA include:
- energy rigs
- drilling platforms
- mid-market business aircraft
- coastal vessels
- smart passenger ships
- urban air mobility.
ORCHESTRA has been described as unique because it integrates multiple technologies including LEO, GEO and terrestrial networks. Inmarsat’s existing GEO satellites – both GX and L-band – will continue to provide global coverage, high performance, security and resilience. Terrestrial 5G adds ultra-high capacity in busy ‘hot spots’, such as ports, airports, and sea canals.
A small constellation of LEO satellites will layer additional high capacity over further high-demand areas such as oceanic flight corridors. As a result, the network will offer the highest capacity for mobility users worldwide, and at ‘hot spots’. The network will benefit from ‘dynamic mesh’ technology, which allows individual customer terminals to direct traffic to and from other customer terminals. This means that a ship within reach of a 5G ground station can receive ample capacity for its own needs as well as route capacity onwards to other vessels beyond terrestrial reach. This effectively creates a mobile web of terminals that extend the network’s reach and improve its performance and resilience. The initial five-year (2021-2026) total investment for ORCHESTRA is expected to be in the order of US$100m.