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A new hyper-intelligent Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), is being developed by Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications with UK company Livewire Digital. This latest feat of British technology innovation will bring a wealth of new, additional connectivity capabilities for mobility businesses worldwide, as part of Inmarsat’s global ORCHESTRA network. ORCHESTRA will integrate Inmarsat’s existing geosynchronous (GEO) networks with terrestrial 5G and a new, targeted low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite deployment.
This SD-WAN solution offers a network of networks to route data intelligently and dynamically via the most efficient and relevant paths, depending on the nature of the information. Multiple pathways will be available via ORCHESTRA, from existing networks in Ka-band with Global Xpress or in L-band via ELERA, as well as in the future via 5G terrestrial connectivity and LEO satellites.
Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat, said “Every ORCHESTRA needs a conductor and this new offering from Inmarsat performs that role, choosing the best routes for information on our network to take, depending on the class or priority of the information in question. SD-WAN uses flexible and defined policies to segregate traffic and route it accordingly and intelligently. Different types of data may start and finish at common points but can take entirely different routes to arrive to optimise their journeys.”
As demand for reliable connectivity in global mobility markets, such as aviation and maritime, continues to grow, peak-time capacity and multi-dimensional networks that can draw upon the right options at the right time are more important than ever. With our customer’s digital demands growing at pace, they seek much more advanced networks to meet their evolving business challenges.
“When driving years ago you would use a paper map, but this could not tell you about congestion, traffic jams, accidents, road works and the like,” Hadinger continued. “Now your satellite navigation unit advises you the best route in real time based on many different factors. SD-WAN offers something similar for communications data. It takes into account any issues on a network automatically, finding better routes for data and it can offer other paths en route as conditions on the network change. With our growing geostationary satellite fleet and a number of frequency bands at our disposal, we have multiple pathways that can be used in different ways for different needs and providing different routes for data that others cannot match. This advantage for our customers will only increase further as ORCHESTRA continues to develop.”
SD-WAN is being implemented across Inmarsat’s infrastructure with crucial contributions by technology partner Livewire Digital leveraging its innovative RazorLink® technology. It anticipates demand from mobility customers and futureproofs Inmarsat operations, allowing the company to add new networks and waveforms seamlessly. Integration of the base technology in Inmarsat networks and products is ensuring full mobility support and regulatory compliance, driving industry innovation and ensuring that global mobility customers have the connectivity needed to succeed for the long-term, both for their existing offerings and for their next innovations, whatever they may be.
SD-WAN delivers the vision of a network of networks by smoothly and efficiently combining satellite and terrestrial internet protocol (IP) networks. By combining multiple networks, SD-WAN will deliver excellent customer experience through highly secure, ultra-reliable global connectivity, which are crucial in serving mobility customers. Upcoming Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-based (AI-ML) algorithms will influence dynamically the network selection and routing decisions to further optimize the customer’s experience.
Tristan Wood, MD at Livewire Digital, added, “Hybrid connectivity is critical to the future of the global mobility industry. Inmarsat ORCHESTRA is the driving force in creating this, and Livewire Digital is proud for RazorLink SD-WAN to be a part of it. RazorLink offers a comprehensive solution providing WAN optimisation, bonding across disparate service groups and the capability to seamlessly route traffic across the most appropriate combination of networks. This makes it possible for Inmarsat’s customers to operate far more efficiently.”
As an example, within the maritime industry, SD-WAN can help identify and separate traffic securely between users – from ship owner, to operator, to manager, to crew, to charterers, to application providers – and ensure ultra-high resiliency for mission critical traffic or life-critical live applications, such as Medicare or autonomous shipping. It will also enhance the user experience thanks to direct cloud connections and help users make the most of the available networks by using dynamic bandwidth management.
For the growing Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market, SD-WAN is enabling the development of diverse communications technologies like Inmarsat ELERA and LTE/5G for use in uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and flying taxis. It will also help create a common structure for better information exchange between vehicles and ground systems. In such a complex sector of aviation, no one single communications technology is sufficient on its own, therefore delivering a combined network leveraging multiple independent networks is vital, especially in terms of safe and reliable operations.
Finally, for emergency services, SD-WAN will enable them to access multiple networks in tandem with Inmarsat ELERA with no impact on their applications, delivering the level of resilience and availability required.