Interview with John McCann, SES Networks

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SES Networks is a market-leading provider of global data networks, operating the world’s only multi-orbital communications satellite fleet. The company delivers world-class, differentiated networks and services to customers and partners in Fixed Data, Mobility and Government markets anywhere they need it.

We recently caught up with John McCann, Director of Customer Enablement, as he shares how satellites are serving not just as an alternative form of Internet access for hard-to-reach communities, but also a redundancy option for submarine cables.

 1. In one sentence, tell us how you would describe the state of the subsea communications industry today.

While global growth of new cable construction is strong, many parts of the world are prone to faults or lack sufficient fibre routes or provider diversity to maintain service continuity. But today, it’s easy to elevate resilience by combining fiber with a high-performance satellite-enabled solution.

 2. How do you see the industry evolving over the next 5 years?

I envision a future where we will see hyperscale networks leverage SD-WAN solutions to deliver applications with greater resiliency, more application awareness and better end-to-end security. SD-WAN architecture will bring the highest level of assurance that a service provider’s network will always be available — no matter what might happen.

A robust SD-WAN implementation of the future would see an ISP that is for example servicing an island nation to be connected by both a submarine fiber line, as well as by a high performance low latency satellite link.   If the fiber cable was somehow cut, traffic could then be intelligently and automatically switched over to the satellite link.  Parallel to this an additional C-band GEO link could switch on to replace some of the capacity that was lost from the fiber connection.  Finally, the controller could push traffic that is lower priority and not latency-sensitive over this connection

3. If you had to identify one key challenge that the industry is facing, what would it be?

A key challenge today is rebalancing the industry wide perspective that fiber is the only option for long distance and high capacity communications.

You regularly see it in the headlines: Natural disasters. Accidental fibre cuts. Prolonged connectivity outages. For example, a ship recently dropped an anchor in Mombassa, Kenya that cut the internet to three African countries. This caused an outage that took three weeks to repair. There are ways around these issues.

Providing full continuity or service when any accident occurs is possible today and SES Networks’ is already turning this into a reality.

4. How can it be overcome?

The subsea fiber industry can work with other communications delivery options to maximize application delivery for customers, minimize impacts of outages and retain a near 100% uptime.

SES Networks is able to offer fiber resiliency solutions that can co-exist with submarine fiber optic connections making an always-on service possible.  This service assurance means that when any fiber failure happens, service providers can still serve mission-critical applications.

Through Software Defined Networking (SDN), software vendors get increased value through SES Networks, and hardware providers are able to offer themselves as a “solution” instead of just a “box.

5. Why are you excited to be at Submarine Networks World 2018?

Submarine Networks World year after year attracts a great network from the fiber industry.  It presents a great occasion to share ideas about the role of satellite-enabled managed services as part of an overall fiber co-existence solution for service providers worldwide.

The vision of SES Networks’ is an exciting one to share and it centres around using the right technology to address adding value to everyone in the overall ecosystem

6. What can the audience expect to learn from your presentation at this year’s Submarine Networks World 2018 conference?

We will showcase how elevating the reality of fiber resilience is possible with a high-performance satellite-enabled solution. This provides customers 100% confidence in not only the breadth but also the depth of coverage.

Low-latency medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellite connectivity delivers fibre-equivalent performance that is the ideal complement to undersea and terrestrial networks. As the only provider of MEO-based services, SES Networks can enable:

  • Resilient performance: being the only satellite service to be Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certified by MEF, we are able to offer stronger SLAs (for latency, jitter, throughput, and other key service attributes).
  • Resilient revenue: Enabling true continuity of service for both basic voice and data as well as for latency-sensitive applications. This then means any service provider has revenue assurance even when primary connectivity is down.
  • Resilient trust: in this instance, resiliency needs to be a managed service so that service providers can minimize capital expenditures and mitigate the risk of operating and managing satellite links and the ground equipment (from gateway to remote terminal).


Meet John McCann and the SES Networks’ team at Submarine Networks World 2018to learn more or attend the following Panel Discussion:

Featuring: John McCann – Senior Director, Customer Enablement Practice, SES Networks

Day 1:  Tuesday 25 September 2018

Track 2: Designing Resilient Networks

Time: 15:10pm – 15:55pm

Place: Level 4, Hall 403 & 404

Title: The Always-On Value Chain: Best Practices in Designing and Deploying Uber-Resilient Submarine Networks

To pre-book an appointment to meet with the team please click here 

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