The AirWare network is an advanced satellite and wireless network, delivering Broadband Internet services to most communities of the Northwest Territories. The network spans over 25 communities across 1.2 Million square miles, servicing a total population of approximately 30,000.
The AirWare network uses an advanced satellite platform to send and receive data in each community. The network supports full mesh connectivity, allowing any site to talk to any other site in a single satellite hop. This is critical for voice and video conferencing technologies. Dynamic bandwidth allocation is also supported, allowing the network to efficiently allocate bandwidth where it is needed most. In order to maximize performance and reduce the impact of satellite latency, various technologies are used, including transparent web caches and IP accelerators. The AirWare satellite infrastructure meets the current connectivity requirements for the Northwest Territories and will be a strong platform for new services in the future.
The AirWare network utilizes licensed wireless technology to deliver service to both commercial and residential end users. As with the satellite component of this network, the municipal distribution system is quite advanced and boasts several distinguishing features. Firstly, the wireless solution is based on NLOS (non line of sight) technology, meaning that users do not have to be able to see the antenna directly in order to get service. Secondly, the technology is extremely non-invasive, and does not require any external cabling or antennas. The wireless modems are very easy to use and can be self-installed by most users (in about 5 minutes.) The AirWare wireless network is also in a licensed frequency, meaning that the possibility for interference is minimized, and greater broadcast power can be used (improving signal strength and coverage.)
Of course, an advanced network is useless without people to support it! The AirWare network is managed centrally by SSI Micro, a long-time Northern communications provider. SSI maintains the satellite infrastructure, the wireless networks, all back-end hardware as well as the billing and management systems. SSI Micro does not sell to end users directly; however, AirWare services are offered in each of the NWT communities by a community service provider, or “CSP.” In each community there is a local resident who has been selected to offer services to end users. The CSP signs up users, takes payments, provides technical support to their clients and performs various other functions. CSPs are a critical component of the AirWare service offering – they give AirWare clients the ability to deal with someone local, typically a long-time Northern resident who understands the culture and language of their community.