Building a better network – past, present and future

The Internet is a big, beautiful place and Xplornet believes everyone should have access to it. Canada is also a big, beautiful place, which means Canadians need a network to reach the very corners of the country. Since 2004, Xplornet has been enhancing our network to include the latest technologies and improved processes, all while adding and improving Internet access for more and more Canadians. So, what have we been up to?

2012 – A year in review

We were a pretty busy bunch last year. In February, we unveiled our first 4G satellite. Then, only nine months later in November, our second satellite came online! Why the back-to-back launches? Because our customers are doing more with the Internet and demanding more bandwidth.

To launch our new 4G satellites to the public, there was so much work going on behind the scenes:

  • First, the satellite must be built! We worked with multiple companies to accomplish this so it’s a group effort. Still, this can take years from start (signing contracts) to finish (launching the satellite into orbit).
  • Next, we need gateways: the earth stations that route Internet traffic from the satellite to your home or business. Each gateway takes nearly 6 months to build and is operated by a team of up to 30 professionals from around the world.
  • Finally, we also test, test and test again. Why? To ensure that everything is running smoothly before service launch. This includes daily readiness testing with trial subscribers – customers who sign up to try our system to help us find and fix any issues.

But wait, there’s more!

Since customers are changing the way they use the Internet and demanding more bandwidth, we knew we had to upgrade our network capacity. So we upgraded all of the fibre links at three 4G satellite gateways, which increased our traffic capacity by a factor of 10!

In addition to these satellite gateway builds and expansions, we expanded the reach and quality of our fixed wireless 4G service in 2012.

  • We built over 50 new wireless 4G towers.
  • We performed more than 100 4G overlays to existing towers – this means we changed towers from 3G to 4G to provide faster and more reliable speeds.

We did a lot in 2012 and we aren’t stopping in 2013. We’re only two months into the year and we’ve already built 4 new towers and completed 20 upgrades!

There’s more to come!

We’ve accomplished a lot in the early days of 2013 but there’s much more to do. We plan to expand even further both the capacity and the coverage area of our satellite network.

And we aren’t just focusing on 4G. In 2013, customers on our 3G platforms will see improvements as early as April. For example, we’ve updated our F2 satellite system (which provides our KaT service) so customers can enjoy speeds up to 3 Mbps and a better online experience, especially during periods of low congestion.

We’re also making improvements to our traffic management policies, which will improve connectivity to content, improve response speed, and provide redundancy to further ensure that your service is there when you need it.

What does all of this mean for you?

That regardless of the platform you use or the package you’re on, we’re always working to enhance and improve the network that delivers your Internet. 2012 was a great year for that network, and 2013 and beyond looks to be even better. Xplornet looks forward to sharing more of our changes and improvements with you as they arrive!

Do you have a network question, even a technical one? Let us know in the comments!

About this blog

The Xplorer is on a tireless quest for stories that celebrate the digital lifestyle and how it impacts rural communities across Canada.