The Challenge of Connecting Beyond the Edge

SD-WAN allows customers to route data and applications between headquarters and remote locations with reliable network performance and security.

It is also ideal for customers that are always on the move. When combined with systems that automate the physical switching between beams, bands, and antennas, SD-WAN delivers uninterrupted connectivity wherever customers roam. From cruise and ferry to enterprises and even offshore, SD-WAN can be deployed across VSAT and hybrid networks to provide robust and reliable connectivity in line with both industry and customer-specific demands. 

SD-WAN makes for smoother sailing

Cruise ships represent one of the most challenging VSAT applications in the industry. In addition to the complexities of serving a moving vessel, cruise ships consume a tremendous amount of bandwidth. Serving thousands onboard at any one time, cruise networks often require multiple transponders and modems per ship to meet customer requirements. However, as technology advances and passengers become accustomed to more bandwidth-hungry applications, new solutions must be put in place to meet the ever-increasing demands.

By aggregating multiple satellite links into a single virtual WAN connection, adaptive SD-WAN algorithms optimize and load-balance the underlying circuits, while offering a high-capacity virtual interface to the customer. In addition to overcoming throughput limitations, SD-WAN allows for the intelligent management and routing of different VSAT technologies and asymmetric satellite circuits for a seamless cruise customer experience. As vessels move around the world, the underlying circuits can easily be switched—including moving off VSAT entirely to 4G/LTE or broadband wireless when near shore—without interrupting the virtual WAN.

With basic installation and configuration, SD-WAN can reduce the costs associated with the operation and management of the platform, allowing cruise operators to operate more efficiently at a lower cost.

Hybrid solutions for more efficient business operations

Small and medium enterprises typically leverage a variety of connectivity solutions to minimize cost and maximize availability. Remote offices may have primary Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) links with Internet Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and/or satellite links for backup. Customers often look to distribute traffic across all available links to get the most out of the bandwidth. However, traditional routing protocols make decisions based on the link state and cost, making it nearly impossible to accurately load-balance traffic over different links.

By utilizing solutions based on SD-WAN technologies, intelligent algorithms continuously measure latency, throughput, and packet loss on each link, dynamically adjusting the flow of traffic. Since SD-WAN routing rules are application-aware, latency-sensitive applications such as voice and video conferencing can be specifically routed over low-latency MPLS connections. Additionally, traffic flows can even be replicated along a second path, delivering perfect-quality voice and video. 

SD-WAN allows customers to route data and applications between headquarters and remote locations with reliable network performance and security. This means they can rely on a single provider for their connectivity needs, simplifying operations, optimizing traffic, and reducing costs (see Figure 1 on the next page). 

Like the enterprise market, commercial maritime vessels must also leverage multiple telecommunications technologies to balance cost and performance. Near shore, 4G/LTE offers a low-cost, low-latency solution for the crew to stay connected. However, as vessels sail out of the range of terrestrial towers, satellites must then become the primary path for connectivity.


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