Inmarsat to build SD-WAN capabilities for ORCHESTRA programme

Inmarsat reports that it has begun development of a new intelligent Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) in conjunction with UK company Livewire Digital, to provide additional routing capabilities for its ORCHESTRA programme integrating geosynchronous (GEO) connectivity with 5G and low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

The SD-WAN system will be used to dynamically route data via the most efficient path on the network depending on the nature of the information, whether that is Ka-band with Fleet Xpress, L-band via FleetBroadband, or Inmarsat’s upcoming GSM and LEO offerings.

“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,” said Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat.

“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.”

“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. 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.”

Livewire Digital will contribute to implementation of the SD-WAN capabilities across Inmarsat’s infrastructure with its RazorLink technology, used to anticipate demand from mobility customers and add new networks and waveforms where required.

Within the maritime industry, SD-WAN could be used to help identify and separate traffic between users, from ship owner, to operator, to manager, to crew, to charterers, to application providers, while supporting direct cloud connections and providing users with dynamic bandwidth management.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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