The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people live, work and communicate. Social distancing, working from home, e-learning, and sheltering-in-place are the ‘new normal’ – which has placed a dramatic increase in demand for residential and business internet.
To keep people connected, businesses operating, and schools delivering education during the coronavirus, Viasat a global communications company, has been proactively optimizing its network.
Network Flexibility: Fine-Tuning the Viasat Network Whenever Needed
Viasat develops, designs, and owns its entire infrastructure, network, and satellite systems. Being “vertically integrated” translates into complete control of the system, which means that Viasat can adjust and fine-tune its network, as needed.
As part of its natural internet management procedures, the company continuously analyzes real-time data, internet usage and demand on its network. This enables the top U.S. Internet Service Provider (ISP) to better understand and respond to customers’ internet service needs.
This is critically important in times like these when shelter-in-place orders are in full swing, and customers are using a lot more data — oftentimes reaching or exceeding their data caps or usage thresholds.
Delivering What Matters: Ensuring Customers Can Access Critical Applications
To keep all customers working and learning from home, Viasat has implemented new optimization and web acceleration techniques to mitigate network congestion by prioritizing critical business and education applications to get preferential access compared to other high-bandwidth traffic, like gaming and entertainment video streaming.
For example, real-time communications applications, network storage websites and sites that focus on business and e-learning—are all being optimized. These work-from-home and school-from-home apps/sites are prioritized for high-speed usage on the Viasat network from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (local time) so that people can continue to work and students can continue to learn.
Viasat’s Senior Director of Development, Carlin Charteris, details the types of applications that are being prioritized: “We want to ensure that web traffic is responsive; that collaborative work applications and shared online workspaces are supported; that we’re able to deliver quick response times for the most commonly used online teaching sites and that businesses using our service can operate as normal.”
Staying Connected: Keeping the Network Reliable
Numerous online streaming services, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix, are throttling their services for the greater good—some have decreased video quality; others speed. They are doing this in order to provide streaming services to more people across more of the world.
Viasat, even with a tremendously powerful satellite network, has a finite amount of bandwidth. So to deliver streaming services to hundreds of thousands of residential and business internet customers, it too must manage its network in the most optimized way possible. That means as demand on the network increases, the network must be adapted to accommodate as many customers as possible—so each can receive an internet connection.
“We make every last kilobit of data available for use by our customers — no matter the situation,” Carlin Charteris explains. “But in times like these, where demand is higher than supply, we put critical network management policies in place to ensure our finite bandwidth resource is distributed fairly across all customers.”
By focusing on network flexibility and optimization, coupled with critical app/site prioritization, Viasat is leading the way for satellite ISPs to keep customers connected, productive, and informed—when it matters most.