Nunavut enhances satellite network

The Government of Nunavut has chosen Ottawa-based Dyband Corp., a provider of IP traffic management offerings, to help manage its broadband traffic.

Nunavut uses satellite Internet provider Telesat, also based in Ottawa, for its broadband service and it will now use Dyband’s 2100 Internet Protocol Traffic Manager (IPTM) to manage the bandwidth.

Without a bandwidth management tool, it would be easy for a community of 1,000 users, for example, to have the entire connection dominated by one user, said Tim Welch, vice-president of sales at Dyband.

“What our software allows the government to do is make sure everyone gets a fair and equitable share of bandwidth and everybody gets a really good online experience, so one user can’t swamp out the rest of them,” he explained.

Industry Canada and Telesat provided Nunavut with 12.5MHz of satellite transponder space to be used exclusively for traffic on Nunavut’s Community Services Network, which connects schools, libraries, colleges and health centres throughout the territory.

The product will be administered by Nunavut’s Informatics Services Branch, and with the 2100 IPTM can group users into various categories, such as consumer and corporate, and allot how much bandwidth each user has access to and prevent clogs. This means Nunavut can segregate core government functions from other traffic.

Scaling up to about 50,000 IP addresses, the 2100 IPTM reaches up to 155Mbps both on uplinks and downlinks, Welch said. Nunavat has a population of about 29,000 residents in 26 communities, with populations ranging from five to almost 6,000 in those communities.

The 2100 IPTM also monitors network functions every 10 milliseconds (ms) in order to rapidly evaluate and adjust traffic conditions throughout the network, Dyband said.

Nunavat will also be able to use the software to collect data about the traffic that can indicate, for example, how much bandwidth each customer used.

Welch said the tricky part about managing satellite bandwidth as compared to its wireline and cable counterparts is dealing with propagation delay. That is the amount of time it takes the signal to get from the earth to a satellite and back. It takes about 250ms in each direction, Welch said.

“If you’re going to shape traffic over a connection like that, you are going to have to do it really, really quickly,” he explained. “Our software, every 10ms, makes a decision on the network status and sends the packet out, so we only hold the packets back for 10ms and that’s less than a router hop.”

The 2100 IPTM costs between $1,000 to $30,000 depending upon traffic flow on the network.