ViaSat-3 is a reimagined internet satellite on a mission to connect everyone, everywhere.

ViaSat-3 is designed to expect the unexpected when it comes to bandwidth flexibility

ViaSat-3 internet satellite

What is ViaSat-3

With the successful launch of ViaSat-3 Americas, ViaSat-3 is expected to be nimble enough to move bandwidth to where it’s needed most.

With two more satellites expected to round out the full ViaSat-3 constellation, it is important to look back on how far we have come, starting with ViaSat-1.

Before ViaSat-1 came on the scene, communications satellites had low bandwidth capacity and were not really designed to scale to meet consumer, business, and government needs.

Viasat saw an opportunity to push the industry forward by maximizing existing technology to create ViaSat-1, then ViaSat-2 pushed the technology even further.

With the demand for internet connectivity continuing to rise, it requires a satellite of a different type – ViaSat-3.

It is the first satellite Viasat has built from the ground up, completely reimagined from its predecessors.

Each satellite in the ViaSat-3 constellation is anticipated to deliver at least 1 Terabit of data throughput per second (1Tbps) to customers where they are, whether that be on the ground, in the air or at sea. 

“With ViaSat-3, we’re working on the hardest problems we’ve ever worked on” Viasat co-founder and chief technical officer Mark Miller said. “Others would look at that and get nervous. Our engineers look at it as a challenge, a challenge that motivates them. And that’s what makes it fun.” 

Intricate ground network

A satellite with this amount of capacity requires a more extensive ground network than previous generations. Like the satellite itself, ViaSat-3’s ground network is distinctly different from ViaSat-1 and ViaSat-2.

Compared to ViaSat-1’s 17 sites and ViaSat-2’s 42 sites, ViaSat-3 Americas has sites in hundreds of locations — and that’s just in North America — all with a smaller physical footprint.

These sites make up the invisible highway of signals between internet satellites. Known as satellite access nodes (SANs), together they receive and transmit signals from geostationary orbit down to Earth. They are all strategically placed to maximize the capability and availability of ViaSat-3 Americas.

These smaller ground stations, about the size of a garage, are designed to provide redundancy -- if a ground station temporarily lost power, the others would then adapt to outages and route traffic other ways.

Bandwidth where it is needed most

The demand for satellite internet access ebbs and flows across the globe during different times. ViaSat-3 is designed to address those fluctuations as they occur – delivering bandwidth where and when it is needed most.

This flexibility is crucial for serving a broad cross-section of Viasat’s customers.

Government and Defense
The U.S. military must constantly pivot their missions as conflict hotspots arise. The ability to direct extra capacity to smaller regions, where activity is highest, is critical to their mission. Additionally, ViaSat-3 will be able to protect against jamming, a tactic commonly used by adversaries to cut off ground troops connectivity.

As our aviation partners strive to bring more value to their customers, offering in-flight Wi-Fi is on the rise. To address this need, ViaSat-3 will be able to increase bandwidth for their more popular flight routes, helping ensure passengers remain connected. Additionally, ViaSat-3 is designed to quickly pivot bandwidth to support busy airport hubs during peak travel times.

Residential and Business
The way people are using the internet has changed drastically compared to previous years. More people are learning and working remotely, the massive expansion of mobile apps and the increased ability to shop and access health care and other daily services online requires more bandwidth in more places. It’s clear that demand everywhere is increasing, but there are still 2.7 billion people on Earth that lack regular access to the internet. ViaSat-3 will help enable people and businesses in underserved communities to finally connect to the internet and create new opportunities.

A new era for connectivity

ViaSat-3 is a uniquely different satellite constellation and will enable internet connectivity where and when it is needed most. This newly enabled connectivity has the potential to unlock opportunities for those in underserved communities. Additionally, ViaSat-3’s ability to quickly address bandwidth congestion will benefit the unique needs of our customers around the world.