SmartSky Adopts Software-Defined NFV Network

By Juliet Van Wagenen | April 14, 2016
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Photo: SmartSky Networks

[Avionics Today 04-14-2016] In another key to unlocking SmartSky Networks’ big capacity claims for its Air-to-Ground (ATG) broadband network, the compay announced that it will use Brocade and VMware’s interoperable and pre-certified Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solutions. SmartSky is deploying the Brocade Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) running on VMware vCloud Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to implement a new network, connecting more than 250 cell sites strategically placed across the continental U.S.

SmartSky's ATG network claims it can provide airborne users with online experiences comparable with those in an office or at home. The company requires a flexible pan-U.S. network to deliver unique and differentiated services that meet the requirements of its customers. The combined NFV solution enables SmartSky to take a software-defined approach to network infrastructure that is more agile, flexible and cost-effective than a hardware-based approach.

"We are building SmartSky's network from the ground up, enabling us to rethink how a cross-continental air-to-ground network such as this should be built," said SmartSky Vice President of Network and Service Architecture David Claassen. "As we worked through the design, it became clear that using an NFV approach and leveraging commodity hardware for the underlying physical fabric would deliver the best [Return on Investment] ROI while increasing our service-ability and reducing many of the operational headaches common with traditional hardware-based networks.”

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