Global Data Service™
What exactly is Global Data Service™ (GDS)?
Global Data Service™ is Kepler's low-cost non-time sensitive data backhaul service for remote operations. Kepler’s satellites operate in low-Earth orbit, where each satellites passes around the Earth every 90 minutes. A large number of LEO satellites are needed to provide a continuous connectivity service that can be used for streaming or regular internet browsing. With a small number of LEO satellites, Kepler can provide means to efficiently store and forward data, moving large quantities of files and information globally like media files, data logs, or scientific data. As new LEO satellites are added to our network, the delivery time decreases.
What does GDS do?
We transmit your data to our satellite where it is temporarily stored and then forwarded to one of our ground stations for retrieval by you via the Internet. To connect to the network, a computer, a tracking VSAT or flat panel antenna and Kepler's modem are necessary.
What type of ground equipment do I need and where can I get it?
Our satellites operate with a wide variety of commercially available Ku-band tracking antennas and modems, and we continue to add more every day. If you already have tracking equipment deployed, it is likely our service is already compatible and you won’t need to install new hardware. Get in contact with us to find out if your equipment is compatible, or what new hardware will be needed to make use of the service. If you do not already have a compatible VSAT, contact Kepler and we can assist in sourcing or providing one.
How much bandwidth does it offer?
Global Data Service™ is based on bulk-data transfer. Plans start at 100GB per month and can be tailored to your data requirements.
How much does the service cost?
Pricing varies depending on your data needs and ground equipment, with no one-fits-all value. We recommend you get in contact with us to discuss your specific situation. We always aim for the lowest data prices available in a satellite solution!
Is it available in my country?
Kepler's satellites cover the entire globe, which means our services can be made available everywhere. To provide service in specific regions, Kepler is continually acquiring the regulatory approvals required to operate the ground terminals.
How do I install the user terminal?
Kepler's user terminal is a combination of a 1U rack-mount modem and a VSAT. The VSAT is any Kepler-certified, commercially available VSAT, and the modem is in a 1U rack-mount unit using industry standard connections. Installation is identical to standard SatCom solutions, but rest assured that Kepler's Field Engineers are available to assist with installations -- contact our Sales team to discuss deployment service options.
What value will I get from Kepler's Global Data Service™?
With Kepler's service, you will be able to move quantities of large data not possible with other services, from locations not previously supported. What was impossible before, is made possible today with Kepler!
What hours is support available?
Guaranteed support year-round during operation hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST).
What languages are supported?
English, French, Italian, German, Spanish.
When will this service be available?
What do you mean by cellular-like IoT connectivity?
We recognize there are challenges with deploying globally-available IOT products: different frequency bands, different standards, and different hardware are needed. We want to simplify that by offering an IOT connectivity solution that has the same capabilities of cellular in terms of power, price, and performance, but in a globally-available satellite solution.
How many devices will be connected on your network?
We are targeting very high volume with low-cost devices that enable connectivity via our network, and we are designing it from the ground up with scalability in mind. We aim to be able to support hundreds of millions of devices globally connected to our satellite network.
Will you provide the hardware to connect to the satellite network?
Yes! In time for our trials in late 2019 we will deliver the hardware that can be integrated into your smart connected product to enable network access. If you are interested in seeing if our hardware can work in your products, please contact us.
What is LEO?
LEO stands for Low Earth Orbit, and is often characterized as the region of space below 2,000 km. However, many LEO spacecraft orbit the Earth at altitudes between 500 km and 1,000 km. KIPP, for instance, orbits at an altitude 575 km.
What is a CubeSat?
"CubeSat" is a generic term for very small satellites that are built using a standard-sized 10 x 10 x 10 cm volume as a building block. Each 10 x 10 x 10 cm volume is also referred to as a "U" (short for "unit" of volume). That is, a 1U CubeSat is 10 x 10 x 10 cm, a 2U CubeSat is 10 x 10 x 20 cm, and a 3U CubeSat is 10 x 10 x 30 cm. Kepler's spacecraft KIPP and CASE are both 3U CubeSats. The U is simply for space allocation: while typically rectangular, and taking up the whole volume of space allocated to them in "U's", CubeSats can come in many different designs, have deployable solar panels that exceed their stowed volume, and are increasingly being used for powerful commercial and science applications.
You're building up to 140 little satellites - won't your satellites add to the increasing problem of space junk?
Kepler is abiding by international agreements to de-orbit spacecraft once they've exceeded their useful lifetime. For small CubeSats like KIPP and CASE, there is enough atmospheric drag up at their altitude (yes, even as high as 575 km up there is still enough atmosphere to generate drag!) causing them to de-orbit within 5 years after their launch. For our future generation of spacecraft, we will be including small propulsion systems to allow us to intentionally de-orbit each satellite once it's time for them to retire.
What's the latency on connections to your satellites?
By offering services via LEO satellites, link latencies can be as low as 100 ms. However, Kepler's services do not provide real-time Internet, so the question of latency often gets confused here. Our Global Data 'store-and-forward' Service is for latency-tolerant data. End-to-end data delivery time (perhaps a better term than 'latency' in this context) for single-pass uploads can be as low as 10 minutes and as high as 12 hours.
Why does latency vary so much?
This depends heavily on your location with respect to our teleport in Inuvik, Canada. Rest assured, the longest you would have to wait is 12 hours. Even better: as we add ground stations all over the world, this issue diminishes significantly.
Do I need a tracking antenna?
Yes, because our satellites are in low Earth orbit, they will never be stationary with respect to your location on Earth. You will need an antenna that can point to any location in the sky, and track our satellites as they pass overhead. If you are unsure if your equipment can handle this task, don't worry! Kepler engineers and support staff will be happy to help you configure your equipment accordingly.
Do I need a clear view of the sky in every direction?
Not necessarily – though blockages will certainly affect the amount of contact time you realize. First, anything that blocks elevation angles below 10° can be safely ignored, as the link with our spacecraft really gets going at about 20° elevation. Also, our satellite's ground track over your location will vary throughout the day, so blockages (say, a tree or a tall building) would only provide trouble for the time that the satellite was behind them. Interrupted passes will resume just fine, and many passes may not even pass behind that tall tree just to the west of you! If you're worried, Kepler field engineers will be happy to help you with a site survey.