HISTORY

People. Ideas. Technology

Our slogan wasn’t born in a boardroom; it wasn’t concocted in the office of a marketing agency or analyzed in a focus group.

Our slogan grew organically based on the top three things we consider vital assets on the path to success, in that order. It is our focus on people that makes SSi such a unique place to work.

In 1990, we started out as a small business selling and repairing computers in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories. Today, we are the North’s largest Internet Service Provider headquartered in the NWT’s capital city of Yellowknife.

As a company with deep northern roots, we understand first hand the importance of reliable communications in remote and rural communities. That personal connection has been a driving force. It is why we believe in and love what we do.

At home in Northern Canada, our award winning company provides service to all 25 communities in Nunavut and several in the Northwest Territories with a satellite network and wireless broadband services.

This vast region has a population of 80,000 people dispersed over 3 million square kilometres. SSi has launched broadband service into many areas where the Internet did not previously exist, and provides a competitive alternative to the incumbent operator in small and remote markets.

international infastructure

Since 2011, SSi has taken a lead role and spent significant resources in the pursuit of better broadband pricing and greater competitive choices in the North. This includes initiating and actively participating in a number of key proceedings before the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

In 2012 we opened a new state-of-the-art co-location facility and teleport in Kanata, Ontario. In 2013-14 we expanded our satellite access by installing a second large dish antenna at the teleport to link to an alternate satellite, while at the same time upgrading the nine largest communities in Nunavut with second antennas, thus providing significant redundancy to our network.

In 2016-2017, we upgraded the network to 4G-LTE technology to support high-speed mobile connectivity and enable the next generation of broadband services for northern residents, businesses and government.

There are many things on the SSi “want to do” list. The quest for the next great thing, with the devoted goal of improving and providing affordable communications solutions across the globe, is always a high priority. Watch for more news! There is always something new on the horizon for SSi.

Take a moment to browse our projects and awards.

Since 2012 we have opened a new co-location facility and teleport in Kanata, Ontario, expanded our satellite access with dual dish antennas, and upgraded the network to 4G-LTE technology.

Kanata teleport

PEOPLE

Who We Are

Despite all of the advanced technology in our network, the most vital element is our human network, our brilliant innovative staff that design, build, maintain and operate our systems, along with the dedicated people that deal with our customers every day.

This includes a team of well-trained Community Services Providers (CSPs) at the local level, independent contractors that provide front line support to customers. With an on-site representative, customers get immediate attention to set up an account, connect to the internet and troubleshoot simple problems. Many CSPs also provide our technical team with basic support by performing tasks at our communications shelters. This often eliminates the expensive alternative of flying in a technician from Yellowknife or Ottawa.

The QINIQ CSP system generates an economic benefit to Nunavut communities. Each year approximately $1 million in earned commissions is paid to CSPs. Considering the high unemployment rates in many Nunavut communities, this revenue is substantial. The system also helps Nunavummiut build successful IT-based businesses.

Our brilliant innovative staff design, build and operate our systems, and are dedicated to providing excellent customer service.

IDEAS

Software Development

SSi specializes in designing and adapting cutting-edge software for remote markets. We do this out of necessity but also because we love a challenge. Designing our own software ensures we get only the features we need, not fancy extras designed to serve a large volume of users and consume huge amounts of data. Limiting data usage is particularly important because satellite bandwidth is roughly 15 times more expensive than cable or DSL. That means every byte saved through the development of efficient applications lowers the cost of providing our services.

A good example of in-house software development is our billing and management system that was developed to track and administer internet user accounts. The system’s

easy-to-navigate interface handles every facet of an ISP’s account tracking and billing. Issues handled by the system include damaged hardware, usage tracking, network speed, user bandwidth limits, roaming, automated account suspensions and reinstatements, as well as warning notices for customers approaching their bandwidth limit. In Nunavut, local customer service providers use this software to manage each QINIQ customer’s network connection in each community. This system is also used in Kiribati.

Every byte saved through the development of efficient applications lowers the cost of providing our services.

PROJECTS

Our projects span over 80 locations across the Globe. We’re proud of our track record. Several of our projects have provided clients with internationally recognized award-winning solutions. The following is a sample:

4G-LTE

In 2016, SSi began the process of upgrading the QINIQ network’s “last mile” in Nunavut to 4G-LTE wireless technology, successfully launching 4G residential data service in the nine largest communities by the end of the year.

Featuring SIM card activated Internet modems and mobile devices that will roam in any community on the network, 4G-LTE supports mobile voice and data, as well as telemetry solutions such as remote-monitoring security and smart metering systems.

Connectivity is robust enough to support content streaming and HD video conferencing sessions. The wireless technology is portable and non-invasive for both commercial and residential customers.

The network also operates within a licensed frequency range, meaning that the possibility for interference is minimized, and greater broadcast power can be used to improve signal strength and coverage. All 25 Nunavut communities are scheduled for 4G-LTE service by July, 2017.

Connected North

On April 2, 2014, SSi joined Cisco Canada and the Government of Nunavut for the official launch of Connected North. This collaborative project delivers immersive and interactive education and healthcare services to remote and northern Aboriginal and Inuit communities through high-definition two-way video communication and collaboration technology.

A successful pilot phase in education was initiated in September 2013. Utilizing prioritized satellite bandwidth donated by SSi, grade 6, 7 and 8 classrooms in Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik school were connected in real-time with teachers, experts and other students throughout Canada, for a more engaging, diverse and dynamic classroom experience.

By the end of 2014, four additional schools had been added – the Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, the John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat, the Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset, and the Deh Gah School in Fort Providence, NT.

To date, Cisco and SSi have contributed over $3 million in equipment and services to the project, including SSi’s donation of over $750,000 in satellite capacity. For more information on Connected North.

PowerComm Hub

After two years of research and development, working with designer-engineer Lucien Potvin, the inventor of the SmartBoard, and Pratt Diesel, SSi has completed the design and construction of a unique self-contained, highly efficient base transceiver (BTS) station in a 40 foot, 16 ton sealift container, the first of its kind to be used in the North, this BTS will greatly improve the operational reliability and economic efficiency of broadband delivery in remote Arctic communities.

This communications shelter, known as a PowerComm Hub, has a number of very impressive mechanical features, including an energy saving passive cooling system which uses Arctic air to regulate a

The PowerComm v2 was shipped to Iqaluit in fall, 2014 and became operational in 2015.

consistent internal temperature while outside temps range from -50 to +30. As well, there is a backup Bard HVAC unit. There is also a built-in diesel generator for power redundancy. All systems can be controlled on site or remotely through our Kanata teleport. The unit is also designed to include co-location facilities for other service providers, providing them the security of a double redundancy system.

Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link

In partnership with Plenary Group Canada and Valard Construction, SSi prepared a detailed design, operation and maintenance proposal for the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Link project, a backbone fibre optic communications system linking the existing fibre network at Checkpoint Junction to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. The partnership provided considerable experience and expertise in understanding the P3 model and its risk management requirements, installing and maintaining fibre networks and facilities in northern and ecologically sensitive lands, and operating broadband networks in rural and northern communities.

The proposal was shortlisted and the SSi-Plenary-Valard partnership was invited by the Government of the Northwest Territories to bid the Request For Proposals. However, the bid was unsuccessful and the project was awarded to another proponent.

Public Benefits Capacity

For the first time, SSi was awarded the contract to deliver 12.5 Gigahertz of public benefits satellite capacity to the government of Nunavut and 6 Gigahertz to the government of the Northwest Territories. This capacity is used primarily to support education and health services. Previously, the public benefits contract was serviced by SSi’s principal competitor Northwestel.

Redundancy Infrastructure Upgrade

In order to provide the Public Benefits capacity, in October of 2013, SSi installed a second large satellite antenna (7.3 meter dish) and associated electronics at the southern Teleport in Ottawa, Ontario. This dish is pointed at Telesat’s Anik F3 satellite. At the same time, installation of second antennas, also pointing at Anik F3, was started in the nine largest communities in Nunavut and completed by summer 2014. This ensured redundancy to the network as a whole via an alternate access mechanism in the event of satellite failure on our primary bandwidth source Anik F2.

Operation NANOOK Broadband Support – Department of National Defense

Based on the performance success of the last two years of broadband support, SSi provided the same support this year for DND’s Operation NANOOK in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, in the form of fixed Internet, WIFI, and VoIP service. SSi also provided the senior officers with MCS modems for personal use. DND also utilized our network to connect their mobile cellular telephone system to their southern gateway for incoming and outgoing calls.

Connected North – Pilot

SSi proudly partnered with Cisco Canada, the Government of Nunavut, Partners in Research and a host of other collaborators to run a one year pilot for Connected North, a video conferencing solution to enhance education and healthcare services in Canada’s north. In September, 2013, the Aqsarniit Middle School in Iqaluit became the first school to receive interactive “experts in the classroom” sessions from scientists in southern Canada. SSi is donating satellite bandwidth to make this project possible.

TIMS

In the fall of 2012, SSi launched the Technical, Installation, Maintenance and Service (TIMS) project to train local people in Nunavut communities to perform basic on-site tasks at SSi communications shelters. Pilot “boot camps” took place in Cape Dorset and Igloolik, followed by online distance training sessions as required.

Northern Space Link Datacenter

SSi opened a state-of-the-art data centre and teleport in the Kanata hi-tech sector of Ottawa, Ontario. All satellite communications between north and south are channelled through this teleport. This new facility houses our Satellite Network Operations team and provides customers with a secure place to house mission-critical servers, applications and data.

Operation NANOOK Broadband Support – Department of National Defense

SSi provided broadband support for DND’s Operation NANOOK in Inuvik, Nunavut, in the form of fixed Internet, WIFI, and VoIP service at three command centres. SSi also provided the senior officers with MCS modems for personal use. DND also utilized our network to connect their mobile cellular telephone system to their southern gateway for incoming and outgoing calls.

Meet Online

Meet Online is our custom designed voice and video conferencing platform. It’s designed to work over satellite providing clients in remote locations with reliable, high quality connection that they can trust. Enterprise and business services are available.

Qfile

Qfile is designed specifically for sending and receiving large files in Nunavut. It’s a simple yet elegant service that’s been custom made for satellite-served communities. Qfile offers features that include: secure storage, group share, slide shows and receipt/tracking of files.

Government of Nunavut

SSi Micro was contracted to design, build and manage the GN’s communications network. The new network offered the government significantly increased capacity, as well as greater flexibility between communities.

Operation NANOOK Broadband Support – Department of National Defense

SSi provided broadband support for DND’s Operation NANOOK in Resolute Bay, Nunavut. We provided Internet for over 1000 off duty personnel. Our team deployed the installation and linkup ahead of schedule, which was much appreciated by DND. When DND’s own satellite network was delayed, SSi’s network became the primary means of communication until they were in operation.

QINIQ Re-engineering (2009)

SSi worked with industry leaders Cisco and iDirect to re-engineer our Nunavut-wide QINIQ satellite network. This network’s performance was been significantly improved through a variety of features including DVB-S2 receivers, a new Cisco platform and optimized traffic shaping.

AirWare – Satellite Network/ISP (2006)

An advanced satellite and wireless network delivering broadband Internet services to most communities in the Northwest Territories, the AirWare network builds on the technology employed in the QINIQ network.

QINIQ – Satellite Network/ISP (2005)

SSi Micro launched QINIQ, an award-winning wireless network that provides 25 remote communities in Nunavut with broadband Internet services via satellite. Many of these communities were previously without broadband Internet access.

Telecom Services Kiribati Limited Satellite Network/ISP (2005)

SSi supplied a complete turn-key ISP system to Telecome Services Kiribati Limited in Kiribati. Kiribati is an island nation, comprised of 33 atolls dispersed over a vast 3.5 million square kilometres.

Global Development Group – Emergency Relief (2004)

New Year’s Eve 2004, SSi was contacted by the Global Development Group, an Australian charity organization focused on relieving poverty. We deploy a mobile broadcast system in Banda Aceh and Jakarta, Indonesia to assist in emergency relief.

Skyline Wireless Non-Line of Sight Broadband (2004)

SSi was the first company in Canada to launch this state-of-the-art broadband Internet service. Wildly successful, the service was available in over 50 Northern Communities.

Care International Voice and Data Network (2003)

SSi built a 12-site network in Zambia and Kenya for Care International, a Canadian Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to fighting poverty by empowering women and girls. The network provides the NGO’s remote workers with reliable communications between sites.

Kativik Regional Government Satellite Network (2001)

A 14-site network was designed by SSi Micro for the Kativik Regional Government in Nunavik, Northern Quebec.

NWT Power Corporation / SSi Joint Venture (2000)

SSi worked with the NWT Power Corp. to develop a private satellite network servicing seven NWT communities. This award-winning network was the first of its kind in Canada and fifth of its kind in the world.

Kitikmeot Corporation, Nunavut (1999)

SSi Micro deployed a six-site satellite network for the Kitikmeot Corporation in western Nunavut. The network connected each of the region’s communities to the Internet.

THINK GREEN

Recycling Initiatives

At SSi we believe that by conserving water and energy, eliminating waste and using recycled materials we can make a difference. Everyone at SSI takes part in making our green initiatives a reality.

  • We recycle all cans and bottles that are used on the premises.
  • We have a paper-recycling bin and encourage staff to print double sided to reduce paper consumption.
  • We reuse all boxes and packaging materials that arrive with our shipments.
  • All Toner cartridges are sent in for recycling.
  • We reuse boxes and packages for our modems; our boxes are 100% cardboard with no shrink-wrap or excess plastic wrapping.
  • Our lunches are all “green” in that we don’t use anything disposable but have a fully functioning kitchen and media area.
  • We offer a “just like home environment” for staff to enjoy.

Energy Efficient

We are conscious of energy consumption throughout the organization, and conserve wherever we can. We try to foster a sense of environmental responsibility in all of our employees, stressing the importance of the issue, and leading by example. We have implemented LED lights throughout the office. These lights reduce our electrical usage substantially and have a life of 60,000 hours. We have replaced all CRT monitors with power saving LCD monitors.

Our buildings are lit primarily with a combination of natural and fluorescent lighting. We have programmable thermostats to help control the amount of heating and fuel we consume. All of our kitchen appliances are energy efficient models.

We carpool and many people bike/walk to work in the summer. We evaluate the energy consumption of all devices considered for our network. If products are equal, we opt for the one with the lowest power consumption.

In the field we have recently introduced the PowerComm Hub, a communications shelter that utilizes an energy saving passive cooling system by using arctic air to regulate a consistent internal temperature while outside temperatures range from -50 to +30 Celsius.

We try to foster a sense of environmental responsibility in all of our employees, stressing the importance of the issue, and leading by example.

Rethink Your Processes

The entire organization is tasked with the responsibility of bringing forward new and innovative ideas to help us operate efficiently using more environmentally sound practices. As a Northern company we believe its our responsibility to take a leading role in making change happen. We believe that we can make a difference. We perform internal audits on our consumption of electronics and supplies and we modify our procedures to cut down on the amount of waste we are generating as an organization. We issue and accept payments through paperless methods EFT (Electronic File Transfer) and other online payment methods whenever possible.

We have evaluated the use of solar and wind power for all of our remote locations. Although the technology is not quite there for our application, we expect it will be in the relatively near future. This is an area we continue to research and watch. As a heavy user of electronic equipment, our company upgrades to more energy efficient equipment as our old equipment ages. We donate old computers and equipment. We also purchase the highest quality (typically more expensive) equipment and tools. It lasts longer!

Adapt To Change

At SSi, we have spent a lot of time looking at ways to become more eco-friendly. As a result our staff have adopted new practices and knowledge that impact not just our organization’s environmental initiatives but those of our families and friends as well. We hope that our actions will motivate and inspire others to think about how their choices effect the environment. It’s easy. Simple choices do make a difference. Try using phosphate free detergents, change to new energy efficient light bulbs, or replace new appliances with certified energy efficient models. Smart people make smart changes.

Join the Good Life. This online community is for Canadians who want to stop talking about climate change and start taking action. The site allows like minded people to collaborate, and offers many useful and simple ideas on how you can effect change.

Visit Arctic Energy Alliance. They offer tips and examples of what other Northern residents and businesses are doing to make a difference. You can also find out about special programs and rebate offers that make going green that much more affordable!  Be aware of what is happening in our world and in our own back yard. Talk about it. Share your newfound knowledge.

Awareness is a huge step towards change. Visit informational sites such as World Wildlife Fund Canada or National Geographic to stay on top of what’s happening in our world. If you have ideas on how you think we can make improvements to our environmental initiatives we invite you to let us know. We always appreciate feedback. Please email us at green@ssimicro.com or contact us.

Bison

TECHNOLOGY

Satellite Communication

SSi has built an extensive satellite network across the NWT and Nunavut with infrastructure in many communities. This has given us the experience necessary to deploy turn-key networks anywhere in the world. In each situation, we designed and adapted existing software to meet the unique needs of remote locales. Today, the internet networks of large urban areas are often connected by fibre-optic cables or DSL lines. But these wire-line terrestrial networks are too expensive to install in rural and remote locations such as Northern Canada, as well as in most of the world’s developing countries. In these cases, satellite technology is the only cost-effective and reliable way to provide broadband internet service.

We have invested in a number of leading technologies to deliver cost-effective, high-performing service to our network’s customers. This is one reason why SSi Micro was contracted to design, build and manage the Government of Nunavut’s communications network in 2010. For the past several years, this network provides the government significantly increased capacity, as well as greater flexibility in functionality between communities.

Tech Map

Wireless Communication

SSi has a long history of working with wireless products. Since 1996 we have been using wireless technology in one form or another. Initially, our focus was on simple point-to-point links for our larger clients. As our wireless experience evolved and product lines improved, the use of this technology became our primary network “last-mile” tool. In March of 2004, SSi began offering high-speed wireless internet to customers in Yellowknife. This was the first of its kind in Canada. Instead of using wire-line connections such as cable or DSL, the service was delivered via satellite through portable modems that work anywhere in Yellowknife. If an SSi customer in Yellowknife had his network modem, a computer and a power supply, he could get online. It has proven to be a huge success.

For years, we have provided reliable, high-quality internet in many communities in Nunavut and the NWT using this same technology. In 2016-2017, we upgraded our entire satellite network to 4G-LTE wireless technology, significantly improving the connectivity to residential modems and enabling mobile voice and data, as well as telemetry applications such utility smart metering and remote security monitoring.

In our system, wireless signals or “radio waves” are transmitted to and from customer devices throughout a community by hardware known as Base Stations. A Base Station covers a specific area, with additional units added to meet coverage demands. In order to process the data carried by these radio waves, the Base Stations have a wireless connection to the Communications Hub, which in turn is linked to a satellite and thus the outside world via a dish antenna.

SSi’s wireless platform provides a significant advantage to customers. Since their modems and mobile devices are portable, customers can roam to any community in our satellite network and go online just as they would at home.

Radio Waves are transmitted to and from customer devices throughout a community by hardware known as Base Stations. In order to process the data carried by these radio waves, the Base Stations have a wireless connection to the Communications Hub.

Tech Map