Why Businesses in Iraq Need to Leverage Services for VSAT in Iraq for Robust Communications?

VSAT terminals are referred to as private earth stations. These are primarily used for giving back-up internet services to businesses. However, these are also used for military and government operations. The satellite dish you see on the roof of a corporate building or the neighbor’s home is the VSAT terminals.

With the growing infrastructure of oil and gas companies In Iraq, there is an ever-increasing demand for reliable communications and connectivity in Iraq. Thus, for smooth functioning in mission-critical projects, seamless communication between the rig site and the main office and the operation vehicle is of high importance.

There is a great need for seismic monitoring and ensuring crew welfare with robust internet connectivity in place in oil and gas and mining industries. To this end, in addition to the reliable services for fiber internet in Iraq, businesses also require robust services for satellite internet in Iraq.

In other words, trustworthy and dependable backup internet services for VSAT in Iraq are vital for various business operations. These are not only needed for businesses of varied kinds, for example, agriculture, mining, timber, etc., but also for government and military operations.

Understanding VSAT Terminals

The ‘very small’ part refers to the size of the antenna reflector, which is less than 3.8 mm in diameter. The terminal comprises two primary units, namely the indoor and the outdoor units.

The outdoor unit consists of everything visible outside the premises with the terminal. This enables the terminal to receive and transmit the signals from and to the satellite. It comprises of the reflector, the feed, the block unit converter (BUC) for transmission, and a low block down-converter (LNB) used for receiving the signals.

Typically, VSAT systems are established in ‘star’ and ‘mesh’ topologies to expand the area of service. Using both the topologies together, one can get the most cost-effective outcomes with the setting of multiple uplink sites.

What You need To Know About The Use of VSAT Terminals

We, a Vizocom, are your ‘best partners in 2020’, giving uninterrupted and seamless communication set up for providing exclusive internet access and satellite-based telecommunications to businesses as well as individuals.

With our world-class infrastructure and the right partners in ICT communications, we are well equipped to handle all of your requirements for mission-critical projects or daily operations. ‘Getting help from our 29 satellites worldwide’, positioned strategically to allow for comprehensive overage across the globe, you can count on us to get uncompromised and exemplary back up VSAT internet services.

Advantages VSAT Users Get

The first and foremost advantage that businesses get with the VSAT network is that users can get their one private communications infrastructure with exclusive control. They do not have to be dependent on and infrastructure regulated by third parties.

VSAT terminals are also used in marine and military applications and NGOs for supporting communications in remote and areas with harsh climates. Other applications include:

  • Narrowband financial applications like point-of-sale transactions.
  • Broadband data like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
  • Satellite internet.
  • Facilitation of communication in emergency and disaster relief works.
  • Industrial applications.
  • Scientific research & more.

To learn more about VSAT services in Iraq for supporting business and mission-critical operations with shared and dedicated C bands, please visit us at our official website at Vizocom.com.

3 Revolutionary Ways of Providing Global Internet Coverage

Despite the constant internet penetration, according to a report by UN’s Broadband Commission, 54% of world’s 7.4 billion population still don’t have access to basic internet services. Two third of globe is also still lacking any internet coverage, making it extremely costly and financially unfeasible to provide internet access for some 700 million people living in these areas.

While almost everyone agrees on the importance and the great impact that internet connectivity can bring to these 4 billion of world’s population, this seems unlikely to happen through the known conventional methods of internet connectivity because:

  • Fiber cabling would be extremely costly and impractical for covering such extremely large and disbursed locations.
  • Mobile networks (or other kinds of ground wireless solutions) would be also not practical as they would need establishment of large towers at every 50 km or so which would have huge CPEX and OPEX costs and would not be feasible for mobile operators.
  • VSAT solutions would be more practical for such locations, however they are currently too expensive to be affordable for majority of the unconnected population.

So how would it be possible to practically provide low-cost (or even free) true global access to internet? The answer is low-orbit transponders in Sky!

Standard VSATs depend on Geostationary satellites located on Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) some 35,000 Km above the ground. Only at this orbit, the satellite speed of circulating around the earth would be equal to the speed of earth’s circulation around itself, causing a fixed satellite position so you can adjust your dish antennas towards the satellite. The drawbacks however are high costs of satellites and their launch, need for costly equipment on the ground including big directional antennas and also high latency as every data needs to travel 35,000 Km up to the satellite and back down to earth.

To solve these problems, the satellites or alternative transponders/repeaters should be positioned at lower distances from the earth (Low Earth Orbit – LEO). However by doing this, new problems arises:

  • Unlike a GEO satellite that could easily cover one third of globe’s surface, LEO solutions would only cover a few tens of kilometers and hence, to make true global coverage, hundreds or thousands of them would be required.
  • It would be extremely difficult and expensive to maintain a repeater at LEO heights at a fixed location. In case of LEO satellites to maintain within their orbit, they have to circulate around the earth at high speeds.
  • Due to above facts, to maintain link connectivity, the repeaters should be able to seamlessly pass on every single connection between each other.

Therefore, providing a solution consisting of hundreds or thousands of repeaters in the sky at LEO orbit, while keeping the solution low-cost and affordable is the challenge that needs to be tackled.

In this article, I will briefly explain the 3 revolutionary ways to provide global internet coverage:

  1. Using gas-filled balloons acting as satellites
  2. Using unmanned aircrafts with very large wings acting as satellites
  3. Using LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites

These 3 revolutionary ideas are actively and seriously persuaded by 5 leading companies: Alphabet (Google), Facebook, Space X, Boeing and OneWeb to tackle this challenge.

Google’s “Loon” Project

The Alphabet (Google) solution for providing global internet coverage is called the “Loon” project. The idea is to use a fleet of gas-filled balloons hovering around the world and powered by solar cells at estimated height of 20-30 km above ground. Each balloon is expected to operate for about 3 months at a time.

One of the main challenges of this project is how to maintain the location of these balloons. Google is trying to solve this challenge by using “software algorithms to determine where its balloons need to go and then move each one into a layer of wind blowing in the right direction”

If this challenge is resolved, the benefits of Google solution is it’s relatively lower cost of each balloon and the ability to maintain a balloon in a relatively small geographical area which would lessen the number of needed balloons.

Google has been testing some of their balloons but they do not yet give a clear timeline for when it would be put in real work, probably due to predictable very tough technical challenges.

Facebook’s “Aquila” Project

Facebook has selected to invest on unmanned aircrafts with very large wings (wingspan of about 40 meters) covered by solar cells, enabling them to stay on the sky for about 3 months at height of about 20 Km from the ground. Unlike Google’s solution that uses LTE technology, Facebook’s “Aquila” is investing on using laser beams to deliver high-speed internet within an 80 Km radius on the ground below.

What stage this project exactly is? I couldn’t find any clear public information. But the main challenges of the project in my opinion would be the durability of the drones and keeping them cost effective.

OneWeb’s LEO Satellite Fleet

OneWeb in partnership with Qualcomm and Airbus, has taken a more “classic” approach – by setting up a fleet of about 700 low-costs satellites circulating on LEO orbit at about 1200 km altitude. Actually, this is not a new concept and is already in place by Iridium – a network of 66 satellites orbiting at a height of about 780 Km and providing global phone and low-speed data coverage for Iridium devices since 1998. (Iridium has now started launching their new Iridium NEXT fleet of satellites what would provide data connectivity with speeds up to 8 Mbps)

What makes OneWeb’s solution different from Iridium is that they are investing on mass-production of satellites to considerably decrease the costs per satellite and of course to provide high-speed internet connections at much lower costs. Also, OneWeb’s user terminals would provide LTE, 3G and WiFi internet connection to surrounding areas.

OneWeb’s solution is expected to begin its services by 2019.

SpaceX and Boeing Satellite Solutions

There are also other companies racing with OneWeb on setting up large LEO satellite fleets to provide global internet connectivity – namely SpaceX and Boeing.

Many of us know SpaceX for its services to the International Space Station. They have exposed a plan to launch some 4000 small, low-cost, disposable satellites at about the same altitude as OneWeb. This project is also funded by Google and tests are expected to begin in 2016.

Boeing joined the battle just this June, by revealing its plans for deploying some 3000 satellites, 1400 of which are to be put in orbit within 6 years. Interestingly, Boeing is also planning to have its satellites at the same 1200km LEO orbit.


While we should wait and see who would win the battle of technologies for providing low-cost, global internet services, all these attempts show a promising future where everyone on the planet would have low cost (if not free) access to internet which has been just recently acknowledged by a UN resolution as a basic human right.

The Role of VSAT in Supporting NGOs during Disasters in Africa (Part 2): Zambia and Cape Verde

This is the second article of the two-part series “The Role of VSAT in Supporting NGOs during Disasters in Africa”. The first article focused on telemedicine projects in Mozambique and Uganda. This article will look at the role of VSAT during disasters in two more African countries: Zambia and Cape Verde.

Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring the timely flow of vital information that is much needed by government agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in rescue operations and providing medical assistance to the injured. The impact of disasters is even worse for those living in remote and isolated areas with no access to basic information and communication facilities that are essential in providing the alerts so vital to saving lives.

The best emergency solution to utilize during emergencies is VSAT technology. VSAT is not affected by natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, and storms as much as terrestrial networks. This is why VSAT technology directly supports many NGOs and military operations, allowing them to cope with contingencies. Because of this, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) considers emergency telecommunications such as VSAT to be a core element of its projects that integrate telecommunications/information and communication technologies in disaster prediction, detection and alerting.

Emergency VSAT Solutions – Saving Lives During Disasters

1) Flood in Zambia 2008

The main emergencies that occur in Zambia are very much water-related and are predictable. Every year, there are floods along the river areas, primarily the Zambezi belt. When floods occur, people are often displaced. In 2008/2009 floods, over 4,000 people were displaced along the Zambezi belt. The 2008/9 rain season peaked in January 2009 with all parts of Zambia receiving normal to above normal rainfall The heavy precipitation in the country, coupled with similar rainfall in neighboring Angola, caused flooding along the Zambezi and Kwando Rivers, which displaced over 102,000 households, damaged growing and matured crops, and caused significant threats of waterborne diseases.  The five affected provinces were the Western, North-Western, Eastern Luapula and parts of the Northern Provinces. The government undertook rapid assessments in the affected districts, detailing the immediate need of food aid, shelter, clean and safe water, and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) provided VSAT satellite terminals to Zambia to assist officials in their relief efforts after severe floods affected 19 districts across the country. The floods destroyed roads and terrestrial communication links, hampering the coordination and delivery of assistance. This deployment of emergency VSAT solutions proved critical for the government and allowed humanitarian aid agencies to conduct rescue operations, medical assistance, and recovery. The VSAT mobile terminals deployed by the ITU were easily transported by road and air to the affected regions, and the VSAT terminals facilitated the coordination of relief operations by both government and humanitarian agencies to aid the victims.

2) Volcano Eruption in Cape Verde

The eruption of the Pico de Fogo volcano began on the 23rd of November, 2014 and continued until the 8th of February, 2015. By the end of the eruption, the lava had covered an era of approximately 520 hectares with an average 8-meter height lava wall. The 88 days of intense and effusive eruption culminated in the total destruction of all houses and community infrastructures of the localities of Portela and Bangaeira – Chã das Caldeiras, forcing the evacuation and displacement of 994 people. As of the 8th of December, 2014, lava had destroyed 90 buildings, including the national park headquarters, wine production facilities, a primary school and a hotel, as well as more than 429 hectares of land, resulting in great material and economic loss and leaving many without a source of income.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  deployed VSAT communication equipment following the eruption of the Fogo Volcano on the 24th of November 2014, which affected most of the population of Fogo Island. The VSAT equipment was used for coordination and relief activities on the ground. The ITU deployed Iridium satellite VSAT communication terminals to support the preparedness and rescue activities.

Vizocom has an NGO Support Program, where Vizocom will provide fast and reliable communication services with exceptionally low prices to support NGOs and their causes.

The Role of VSAT in Supporting NGOs during Disasters in Africa (Part 1): Mozambique and Uganda

Natural disasters such as floods, fires, and storms affect thousands of people in Africa. From the destruction of buildings to the spread of disease, natural disasters can devastate entire countries overnight and seriously disrupt the community with massive human, material, economic and environmental losses. To prevent these losses during disasters, emergency communication systems are critical in terms of safety, and ensuring the continuous operation and rapid recovery of emergency communication systems is more important than ever.

The best emergency solution to utilize in these situations is VSAT technology. VSAT solutions act as very dependable backbones for communications during and after calamities. The inherent nature of VSAT communications via satellite and its connectivity advantages makes VSAT the ideal means of communication during emergencies.

During disasters, the first action should be to connect the affected site to multiple other sites, and this can be done quickly using VSAT. The other important tool for communication is the satellite phone , which does not rely on ground infrastructure for connectivity. Below are examples of how VSAT solutions have directly supported the NGO’s relief operations during disasters.

Emergency VSAT Solutions – Saving Lives during Disasters

1. Cyclone in Mozambique in 2008

The tropical cyclone Jokwe hit northern and central Mozambique on the 9th of March, 2008. The Category 4 cyclone had winds of up to 170 Km per hour and brought torrential rains, prompting the government to declare a Red Alert, which is the highest level issued for natural disasters. The red alert was issued for the Provinces of Nampula, Zambézia and Sofala, as well as the coastal areas of the Districts of Maganja da Costa, Pebane, Moma, Angoche, Mogovolas, Mogincual, Mossuril, and Nacala. A lesser Yellow Alert was issued in the central provinces, specifically in the districts of Inhassunge, Chinde, Marromeu, Chiringoma and Dondo. According to the Government National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC),tropical cyclone Jokwe killed 7 people, damaged around 30,000 houses, 200 schoolrooms, and dozens of health clinics, prisons and other public buildings. An estimated 41,000 hectares of maize were destroyed.


The Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC), with support from Telecom sans Frontieres, installed VSAT equipment and provided support to INGC and the humanitarian community in each of the emergency operation centers in Caia, Mutarara, and Mopeia. Data connectivity was provided in Caia through an ETC VSAT station; in Mutarara, through the World Vision VSAT station; and in Mopeia, using UNICEF‘s BGAN portable satellite terminal. The emergency VSAT systems in place helped the NGOs conduct rapid emergency procedures. Telecom sans Frontieres also installed a BGAN and proxy-server in Caia to decrease the usage load on the VSAT at the CENOE office. Lacking outside contributions, the Emergency Telecommunication Cluster used advanced funds from UNICEF and WFP.

2. Flood in Uganda

Unusually heavy rainfall from July to November of 2007 led to flooding and water-logging across a number of districts in eastern and northern Uganda, particularly in the Districts of Soroti, Amuria, Katakwi, Bukedea, Kumi, Lira and Sironko. This gave rise to a major humanitarian response across all sectors. An estimated 20,000 households were severely affected and 58,000 people were displaced. With about 80 percent of crops destroyed by floods, food insecurity was imminent. The flooding disrupted delivery of social and economic services like education, health, trade and agriculture – which resulted in increased risk of communicable diseases especially as the floodwater receded. Malaria and diarrheal disease incidences greatly increased by over 30%. Several districts were ravaged by torrential rains and flash floods that swept through the country, destroying road and communication links, and submerging crops, which compelled the Government to declare a state of emergency.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deployed 25 VSAT terminals to help restore vital communication links in the aftermath of severe floods that affected the eastern and northern regions of Uganda. With the restoration of the communication links, designated government officials and other humanitarian agencies were able to coordinate relief operations efficiently. The ITU provided bothThuraya hand-held satellite phones and Inmarsat Global Area Network (GAN)terminals. The Thuraya satellite phones used both satellite and GSM networks to accurately locate the GPS coordinates for the aid relief and rescue. The Inmarsat GAN terminals were mainly used for voice communications and high-speed data.

This article will be continued in the second part of this series titled: The Role of VSAT in Supporting NGOs during Disasters in Africa (Part 2): Zambia and Cape Verde.

Vizocom has an NGO Support Program, where Vizocom will provide fast and reliable communication services with exceptionally low prices to support NGOs and their causes.