Tachyon touts easy-to-use satellite network

Satellite communications has proven to be a boon to people needing broadband Internet access in hard-to-reach locations, but its finicky reputation has been a turnoff to others, which Tachyon Networks Inc. officials hope to overcome with their Auto Deploy solution.

The company's Auto Deploy Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) package comes in a suitcase-sized closure and getting it ready to use merely requires pressing a button. A parabolic antenna then automatically opens, searches for the correct communications satellite and locks on to Tachyon's broadband network.

Tachyon's Quick Deploy system has been available for some time. The product comes as a rack-mounted enclosure that's also highly portable. But it is better suited for a field-based local-area network deployment in which some setup expertise and satellite communications knowledge is expected to be available.

Auto Deploy, on the other hand, needs none of that.

"We had customers who wanted the kind of connectivity in remote places that our system provides, but for use by people who were not satellite savvy," said Jeremy Guralnick, Tachyon's chief scientist. "They wanted all the services it provides but with significantly greater ease-of-use."

That's meant some trade-offs in the design of Auto Deploy. The antenna is smaller than the Quick Deploy solution's, for example, which limits the uplink speed to 256 kilobits/sec against 560 kilobits/sec for Quick Deploy. However, the downlink speed for both is still 2 megabits/sec.

Of the two systems, Guralnick expects high unit deployment of the Auto Deploy system simply because of the fewer satellite expertise requirements.

First responders and emergency workers are expected to be major markets for Auto Deploy, either for primary communications or as a backup, he said. The company is also increasingly seeing the use of its satellite systems for such things as extension of existing WiFi networks.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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