A recent discussion with the PNG group about VSAT and VPNs made me realize how varied implementations are; and how forward and brave some tech managers can be when it comes to trying the latest in technology.

We have a VSAT implementation ourselves; however given our requirement is primarily email and an in-house programmed ERP we have the flexibility of being able to alter bandwidth usage – either through stream compression or data packetizing. Generally bandwidth isn’t an issue because of the _way_ in which the software works. I admit though we do have a 1Mbps link, very limited cloud/overhead cover (thus getting good throughput even on dull days), and our usage of the link is itself limited. The implementation is at one of our organization’s offices based in the remote mountain region “Ladakh”.

Islands and mountains do have much in common don’t they – impossible to lay cable, tunnel or otherwise, generally best communication is through using satellite based tech. Altitude, yes, maybe even surrounding foliage and weather conditions may differ reasonably.

I understand there are certain situations in which 1Mbps – maybe even 100Mbps [heh] via VSAT proves to be inadequate due to latency issues. WAN optimization technology can help – but how much? And what are the challenges facing Pacific islanders as a whole, those that do have VSAT as a part of life, and what do you currently do to get over these challenges? We have organizations that haunt the Ladakh region in the name of “Research” – in the context of their own satellite internet equipment of course – are there similar ones in the pacific islands?

Plain vanilla internet apart, VPNs on the other hand, do consume a bit of additional bandwidth. In my implementation we chose to NOT use a VPN, instead using static IPs (IPv6) to streamline data flow. Yes there are security risks, and yes the connection does use an SSL based encryption to overcome that risk – but are there really situations that require the use of a VPN inspite of limited bandwidth? I would vote not.

I encourage you to post your feedback as a comment. Naturally there will be the odd technical genius who has the perfect 2 word solution for this problem – but basically we want to know:
1. Where you’re from (general region)
2. What VSAT provider you’re using (ours is Hughes)
3. How you reduced the impact of latency, security and usability all at once; or otherwise what you’d want to implement in an attempt to fix the same.

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About Chaitanya Dhareshwar

Chaitanya Dhareshwar, a Technocrat | CIO.

Member of various key technology and management organizations (IETF, ISOC, CSI)
with 14 years of technology management & advisory experience
has transformed companies from "stone age" to "space age". I build high-scale, self-sustaining, self-service platforms. Passionate about technology, innovation and creating killer opportunities that only great tech can bring. I've led teams from 5 - 150 people, and am hands-on with all forms of technology.

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