Microsoft has teamed up with Azure orbital ground station-as-a -service partner SES and Nokia to demonstrate secure access to its cloud platform using private 5G and satellite communication (SATCOM) network.
Through the integration of SATCOM, 5G, and cloud computing, the demonstration established a reference architecture to deliver remote access to enterprise systems, remote access to data, and the ability to conduct analysis simultaneously in the field and the hyper-scale cloud.
In this demonstration, military vehicle data was streamed over private 5G, viewed and analysed in the field, and then delivered in real-time to an enterprise maintenance system in Azure over SATCOM.
Nokia established a secure, private 5G network using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud solution.
During the demonstration, users accessed an SAP maintenance environment hosted in Azure, using laptops connected to the private 5G network.
This proof of concept showed the ability for Defence personnel in the field to access and update an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution without waiting to return to a primary facility or base, Microsoft claimed.
Data from military vehicles can now also be accessed and analysed in the field, with results synced to the ERP platform.
Through real-time ERP updates in the field, logisticians and commanders located at headquarter sites can make decisions based on the most up-to-date tactical data on vehicle fleets.
Both raw and processed data can be sent from vehicles in the field to enterprise systems over SATCOM when the operational situation allows, increasing commanders’ awareness of deployed assets.
Improved access to data also opens opportunities for automation and optimisation of back-end processes, such as predictive maintenance, stock management, fleet management and operational budget forecasting.
During the demonstration SES showcased the potential for high-volume data transfers by accessing its O3b satellite constellation via transportable terminal antennas, download and upload speeds reaching 348 Mbps and 67 Mbps respectively.
Orbiting at approximately 8000km above Earth’s surface in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), the O3b system delivers low latency, high-performance connectivity. SES’s upcoming second-generation MEO system – O3b mPower– represents a step change in capabilities for satellite-based networking.
SES acquired O3b in 2016 to significantly enhance its video and network capabilities, and launched four O3b satellites in 2019, completing its first generation MEO constellation.
During the demonstration, the Microsoft Azure Stack Edge Mini R – an ultra-portable, rugged edge computing device – was used for computing and analysis onsite, enabling advanced cloud analytics and visualisation in both connected and disconnected environments.
Microsoft recently revealed a range of new carrier infrastructure offerings through Azure, including services for private 5G enterprise networks, in a move designed to bolster the vendor’s position as a partner to the telecom industry as 5G and edge computing deployments progress.