Welcome to the first installment of “Extending Your Reach.” In this space, I will be sharing information about the satellite communications company I founded in 1996 – X2nSat – and the multiple communications solutions we offer to businesses, organizations and people.
But I’m not just passionate about my company; I’m passionate about satellites, in general, and their place in our social fabric. My main goal will be to exploit this opportunity to educate readers about how satellites work, why they’re important, and the many ways satellite communication options impact the world in which we live.
Am I qualified to be writing this blog?
First, I should probably introduce myself – not just to blow my own horn, but to let readers know I do have the experience and knowledge … Well, OK, I guess I’m about to blow my own horn here – I do have the experience and knowledge that makes me someone worth listening to and learning from, at least when it comes to satellite communications.
Some chest pounding
In order to justify this blog’s existence, it makes sense to share some biographical detail about myself. Early in my career, I worked as an engineer, designing and building the first trans-Pacific satellite network to transport TCP/IP. This moment in history was pivotal in introducing the world beyond the U.S. borders to the Internet. I also worked with Noller Communications to create what became known as Telecom Valley here in Petaluma, and I was involved in research and development efforts for the fixed wireless communications system ARTS – a system designed for rural telephone networks with international deployments in Indonesia and Poland.
I contributed to major Internet trans-Pacific networks that were deployed in the 1990s, and was also involved in other projects in the Pacific Rim area, including the largest national telephone companies of the time – Japan Telecom, NTT, Telstra, Telecom New Zealand, Chanwa Telecom, China Telecom, Quest, Epoch Networks and Hughes Network Systems. In 2005, I pioneered the first satellite-based network technology that provided voice and high-speed data in a regulated phone environment to rural America, under the auspices of the USDA/RUS program.
Following the norms of society, I have earned that “piece of paper” that makes my knowledge official, attending Sonoma State University and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. To engage with and give back to peers, colleagues, and the industry itself, I also serve on several corporate boards of directors, including the boards of X2nSat, Todocast, and IP Access.
Chest pounding is now over …
What’s in a name?
With a name like X2nSat, of course I’m asked this question often. Now, I’m not going to try to pretend I sit around reading Shakespeare all day, but I can’t help but think of the famous line in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose … by any other name would smell as sweet.” I guess Juliet is saying here to her true love that a name is a necessary social convention, but it doesn’t define our identities or the reality of who someone or something truly is under the surface.
My point being – telling the story of how our company name was chosen might not fully define everything we are and everything we offer. The name X2nSat was the result of a company-wide contest with some very specific parameters: it needed to be one word, the website URL needed to be available (this one is very important, we learned!), it needed to be something we could trademark, and, most obviously, it needed to contain some reference to “satellite,” or “sat,” for short. Our name does all of those things, with the added bonus of being a slightly garbled version of our tagline (and the name of this blog) “Extending Your Reach.” As my brother-in-law once pointed out, if you throw down three beers and slur a bit while saying “X2n,” it sounds kind of like “ex-tw-ennnd.” Kindof. To tech and engineer types, “x” and “n” are special letters: “x” always standing for the unknown/variable and “n” always standing for a quantity. At X2nSat, we have the capability to provide communications solutions in any variety of situations and in any location.
Shakespeare and space
To get back to Shakespeare, I Googled the quote from Juliet to make sure I was quoting the fair Capulet correctly, and learned from a small typo in my search field that Shakespeare actually does have a direct connection to space: The 27 moons of the planet Uranus are named mostly after characters from Shakespeare plays, including one moon named, serendipitously, Juliet. Maybe I’m on to something here.
PHOTO: Juliet or The Blue Necklace (1898) by John William Waterhouse (public domain image)
As CEO and founder, Mr. Hill guides the vision and cutting-edge culture of X2nSat, one of the most veteran VSAT providers in North America. In 1996, he founded this forward-thinking satellite communications company with a mission to provide highly reliable, wireless network and communication solutions to a variety of North American industries.