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  • Satellite Evolution

Optical communications industry is advancing beyond tech demos to actual space-based applications

The recent emergence of LEO broadband constellations has sparked a growing interest in optical intersatellite links (OISLs) as operators seek higher bandwidth, global coverage, and enhanced security amid a finite radio frequency (RF) spectrum.

But even with a recent surge in investments, OISLs face an uphill climb to overcome operational and technical challenges as demonstrated by a decades-long history of stalled implementation.


With the future success of LEO broadband hanging in the balance, OISLs are becoming foundational to the next generation of space-based communications. This is according to a new 60-page report published by the satellite and space sector analysts at Quilty Analytics. In its inaugural space infrastructure piece, Quilty Analytics explores the entire OISL market and includes a detailed breakdown of the government and commercial providers working to advance optical communications.


“Slow and yet seemingly all at once, the commercial sector is finally embracing the optical comms market. Led by LEO broadband and earth observation use cases, OISLs most likely will achieve mainstream status over the next five years,” said Chris Quilty, Quilty Analytics co-founder. “We took a deep dive into this critical technology to determine if it is indeed ready for prime time and which players are most likely to make that happen.”


The Quilty Analytics Inaugural Space Infrastructure Sector Spotlight on OISLs is available to premium subscribers and members of the media upon request.

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