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Issue 8: Broadband IP Backbone

Low Cost Broadband IP Satellite Backbone in Indonesia


This paper is available in Bahasa Indonesia

Two-Way IP Based Satellite Backbone

In some cases, we need two-way IP based satellite backbone connection to the Internet. To be able to transmit to the satellite, one needs to get the Internet service from an Indonesian licensed operator. As VSAT technology is fairly common, we may easily obtain an International VSAT service from a reseller or unlicensed operator. Such action may create a significant headache to the Indonesian telecommunication regulators, namely the Indonesian Post & Telecommunication Authority. There are several competing two-way IP based satellite backbones namely. They are:

  • Single Channel per Carrier (SCPC), the most expensive IP based satellite backbone. A satellite channel/carrier is a dedicated link to the client thus, can be quite expensive in the range of US $2000-2500/month for a 64Kbps dedicated link.
  • Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) was the early method to share a single satellite channel among many clients. The channel efficiency in TDMA is quite poor.
  • Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) is one of the latest and most efficient methods to share the downstream satellite link among several users/clients. The latest method to have a shared uplink to the satellite is Digital Video Broadcasting, Return Channel via Satellite (DVB/RCS). An earlier version such as Digital Video Broadcasting, Frequency/Time Division Multiple Access (DVB/FTDMA) (Gilat's proprietary technology) and DVB/SCPC has been used by several operators to provide two-way IP based satellite links to the Internet. Using the DVB based technology, the cost for two-way IP based satellite links may be reduced to US $600/month.

Most of the public IP infrastructures and services are now moving towards DVB based platforms to attain lower cost access for the end users. Some two-way DVB based IP services in Indonesia are:

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Pasific Satellite Nusantara (PSN), physically located in Jakarta, offers two-way IP based DVB/FDTMA through the Palapa C1 satellite (footprint shown in the figure) on its ASEAN beam that covers all of Indonesia as well as Papua New Guinea and Northen Australia. PSN's DVB/FTDMA product is called BINA at Cost for a dedicated 64Kbps DVB/FTDMA is in the range of US $700/month.

Infokom located in Jakarta is one of the old timers as a VSAT provider in Indonesia. Infokom offers many variant VSAT Services, such as Point to Point SCPC (Single Channel Per Carrier) and MCPC (Multiple Channel Per Carrier), Bandwidth On Demand (BOD) enabling us to increase link speed up to 2 Mbps when needed, TDMA and two (2) way broadband. Interestingly, Infokom provides IP based DVB/FTDMA VSAT service with an upgradeable outbound DVB-S data rate up to 52.5Mbps and inbound data rate up to 512 Kbps. It covers the whole of Indonesia. No satellite is specified in the service, we assume it uses one of the Palapa Satellite. In case of emergency, a redundant dial-up back-up service is provided.

Primacom Interbuana provides a broadband service that combines the secure-technology of TDM/TDMA and DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) technology that delivers broadband access up to 48 Mbps. No more detail is provided.

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Lintas Langit Nusantara is the provider of LinkStar Internet Access based on DVB/RCS Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) Multi Frequency (MF) to ensure a more equal bandwidth sharing mechanism to reach link capacity and a cost-effective dedicated link. Telkom-1 satellite (108 East) is used in the service via a teleport hub in Hong Kong.

For an upstream 6-32 Kbps and downstream 16-64 Kbps the monthly cost of this service is about US $350/month. Shown in the figure is the typical configuration of the DVB/RCS TDMA MF access. Another configuration offered by Lintas Langit Nusantara is DVB/SCPC via AGILA-2 satellite. DVB/SCPC service via AGILA-2 satellite at 64Kbps will have a monthly cost of about US $700/month.

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PalapaNet is a subsidiary of Satelindo which manages Palapa Satellite C. Satelindo provides several IP based services including i-Connect. Shared Internet Link is a point to point Internet service designed for the small to midsize enterprise using the Internet gateway-sharing concept to provide efficiency and value to customers while maintaining high level service quality. No more detail is provided.

For those who wish to save more on cost, it may be done by buying one's own satellite ground station and removing the extra US $400-500/month for renting and maintenance fee of the VSAT ground station. DVB/RCS VSAT ground stations cost around US $1,500 in North America. Unfortunately, the DVB/RCS TDMA-MF VSAT ground station is around US $6,500 each in Indonesia.

Value Added Services over VSAT IP backbone

Having a dedicated broadband Internet access channel, one may be able to host value added services using VSAT IP backbone. Some of the value added providers are:

Satelkom provides MeteorVoice&trade VoIP service using a low density Internet Telephony Gateway, such as the VG 1002, that runs both VoIP protocols H.323 and SIP.

Infokom provides triple bundling, namely media, Internet and phone. Its services focus on media related VAS such as Premium call, premium short message services and televoting and telecommunications related VAS such as VOIP, interconnection settlement and call centers.

In many cases the satellite backbone (as well as fiber optics backbone if any) are shared with the surrounding neighborhood via UTP cables for short distances (100-200 meters) or WiFi 2.4 GHz infrastructure tuned for outdoor usage for city wide network. Today, we have more than 10,000+ WiFi outdoor links in Indonesia. Considering that many of these links are not legal (but also not illegal), the number of WiFi links can be exponentially high if the government can un-license the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz band for Internet usage.

Having a dedicated connection to the Internet has enabled many free VoIP services.There are two major free VoIP infrastructures, namely, (1) H.323 based VoIP Merdeka at Root Gatekeeper and (2) SIP based VoIP Rakyat at Some of the Internet Telephony Gateways (ITG) using these free VoIP Infrastructures may reach PSTN numbers free of charges.

Final Remarks

It is our hope to see 200 million Indonesians have access to phone, and 100 million Indonesians connected to the Internet by 2015. To be honest, current Indonesian policy and regulatory framework does not aim to reach such explicit goal. In reality, low cost IP based satellite interconnected with WiFi 2.4 GHz city-wide broadband infrastructures may be the main vehicle to reach such a goal.

The strategic approach would be a self-financed process in which all 220,000+ Indonesian schools are connected to the Internet at US $10/school/month! Thus, such an arrangement would cost US $0.10-0.50/student/month, and will enable 48+ million future Indonesian students to get connected to the Information infrastructure as well as encouraging 100+ million parents to get connected. This whole process can be community self-financed without World Bank/IMF loans. The means to do it can be freely downloaded from

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