Home >> March 2009 Edition >> FOCUS: High-Quality VoIP To The World’s Remotest Regions
FOCUS: High-Quality VoIP To The World’s Remotest Regions

LBiSat has been a global provider of satellite-based telecommunications services to remote regions of the world for more than 25 years. In 1986, the company pioneered voice products using T1 lines. Since 1997, the Company has used the Internet to offer basic ‘dial tone’ satellite services to its growing customer list.

After an exhaustive search, LBISat was led to Alianza’s hosted VoIP platform, LBiSat added Class-5 type functionality to its voice services. Alianza’s fully integrated platform provides the high quality and low latency needed to communicate by satellite with remote sites. LBiSat can now leverage a broader range of IP telephony and voice applications — with no capital expenditure.

The Challenge
LBiSat provides complex network solutions via satellite for a wide variety of voice, video, and data applications. Applying in-depth expertise in engineering, project management, integration, and network services, LBiSat tailors each solution to meet specific customer requirements.

With a full-service teleport in Utah and partner teleports in Maryland and Australia, LBiSat provides products and services, including a 24x7 Network Operations Center, to more than 100 countries around the world.

The company’s satellite-based solutions are used primarily in locations where traditional terrestrial communications are not an option. Among its customers are government agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and USAID, and large corporations within the mining, oil and gas industries. LBiSat can also provide a hosted service for telephone companies and Internet providers.

As latency is an issue for all satellite communications, LBiSat uses iDirect hub technology because of its superior ability to support IP in a satellite environment. With this leading technology in place, LBiSat wanted to expand its VoIP services to include Class 5 functionality. But it also needed to be able to do so without compromising the high quality customers depend upon.

“Many of our customers are involved in emergency and disaster recovery efforts in remote areas,” said Mike Lyman, Director of Project Management for LBiSat. “The nature of their work demands high-quality, low-latency VoIP services, which can be a challenge for satellite-based communications. Add to this a growing need for service beyond the dial tone, and it’s quite a challenge to find a single vendor who can do it all.”

The Solution
In 2007, LBiSat began evaluating partners that could help it meet the challenge of VoIP. “We found one company that could make us E911 compliant (Enhanced 911 or E911 service) where PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Point) have upgraded their equipment. This automatically provides call takers with the mobile telephone number and the estimated location of the 911 caller to assist them in dispatching emergency assistance). We found another vendor that could get us DIDs (Direct Inward Dialing) at a decent rate. And yet another supplier that could handle the billing,” said Lyman. “But Alianza was the only one that could provide exceptional voice quality, minimal latency, and Class-5 type services on a single VoIP platform. It was a one-stop-shop that enabled us to add a fully-functional voice offering to our satellite Internet service — with no capital expenditure.”

The Examination
LBiSat also provides the hosted Alianza VoIP platform to telephone companies and Internet carriers in remote places like Alaska.

Alianza’s platform is built on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) design. It includes a carrier-grade session border controller, soft switch, carrier interface, virtual PBX, billing support system and device provisioning module. It also features a logic layer, applications programming interface (API), account management portal, and an administrative center for back-office management.

“Alianza’s technology supports advanced voice compression and prioritized data packets so we can control bandwidth and latency and still ensure good voice quality,” Lyman added. “And we can use Alianza’s soft switch and data relating to call set-up and tear-down to tweak the system even further.”

The Result
Since the introduction of Alianza’s hosted platform during April 2008, LBiSat has implemented VoIP for several existing contracts and received orders from several new customers. LBiSat’s largest voice customer provides services to offshore and onshore oil drilling rigs. Because the Company is growing exponentially, it wanted to use a single platform for all satellite services, including VoIP communications. According to Lyman, “This customer was extremely pleased with the quick implementation and quality of service of the Alianza VoIP platform. Now that it’s a proven platform, they are adding 20 to 30 additional lines each week.”

LBiSat also provides the hosted Alianza VoIP platform to telephone companies and Internet carriers in remote places like Alaska. In addition to handling switching and call termination, Alianza’s platform enables them to generate billing data for the carrier, if required.

Partnering with Alianza for Class-5 type VoIP services has made LBiSat more competitive. According to Lyman, the following benefits will significantly impact the company’s ability to expand business:

Voice/Call Quality and Latency: Alianza’s voice platform works with iDirect hub technology to shape packets traveling over the Internet so that latency is low and the quality of the voice call is consistently high.

Application Flexibility: Alianza’s Application Programming Interface (API) allows LBiSat to launch voice communications’ services quickly. Because the Alianza platform uses SIP as a protocol, it integrates easily and transparently to legacy PBX systems and PSTN networks.

Pricing Reduction Advantages: Alianza’s pricing model enables LBiSat to commercialize voice services without investing any up-front capital expenditures. Alianza’s pricing model includes a fixed monthly fee per line/extension that is deployed. Pricing varies by product/feature set and pre-set volume levels.

LBiSat also provides mobile emergency response trailers to the U.S. Forest Service. With deployment of the Alianza voice platform, “first responders” now have satellite phone service over the Internet during natural disasters. “Making phone calls and faxing over the Internet is a huge logistical benefit,” said Lyman. “It should also save the Forest Service money, because we can start and stop service on a month-to-month basis using Alianza’s hosted voice platform. Instead of leasing a T1 line all year, they can initiate voice only during the fire season.”