NBN Co assembles crack team to tackle Sky Muster issues

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NBN Co assembles crack team to tackle Sky Muster issues

Unveils major drive for new engineering and architecture talent.

NBN Co will plough significant resources into fixing its troubled Sky Muster satellite service, revealing plans to hire ten new engineers and solution architects to tackle ongoing performance issues.

The hiring spree comes just weeks after CEO Bill Morrow admitted the satellite service had been hit by an “exorbitant” number of network failures, which could take another year to rectify.

Users of the service continue to publish logs detailing regular outages and dropouts. While some issues are likely to be weather-related, many are due to software bugs that manifested when the service was put under increased load.

With NBN Co looking to new satellite products – such as underpinning inflight wi-fi - to increase Sky Muster’s profitability, the company has been forced to throw more resources at repairing the service.

Over the weekend, NBN Co flagged a significant expansion in the number of engineers and architects overseeing the service’s design and operation.

The recruitment drive appears to be split between remediation of the existing issues and a tightening of procurement and end-to-end design of the Sky Muster service.

At least half of those to be employed by NBN Co are being brought on to “reduce the number of incidences exceeding threshold by active monitoring and management of network capacity against KPI threshold for systems”.

They are also being asked to “analyse and synthesise data from a number of disparate sources in order to develop strategic recommendations on how best to optimise the lifetime, availability and performance of the satellite platform”.

NBN Co indicated it is targeting performance issues across the service.

It intends to optimise systems including “baseband systems, air resource management, modulation schemes, statistical multiplexing, timing, traffic management, mobility, SMTS [satellite modem termination systems] etc. and the associated interactions of the access network with the end user terminals (VSAT) and the satellite core network".

Other new satellite architects are being brought on board to recommend enhancements and new capabilities for Sky Muster, and – in one case – to oversee NBN Co’s input into International Telecommunications Union (ITU) processes.

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