Q-NET™ becomes the first satellite network solution to support Software Defined Networks

August 3, 2018

Software Defined Networks (SDNs) are a reality in today’s IT world but until now have been noticeable by their absence in the satellite industry. SDNs solve a problem created by the changing ways in which we access and use information. In the past, networks were relatively static and a user’s computer would interact mainly with a single server. The advent of cloud and mobile computing has changed all this with the result that the idea of a fixed network is dead. Users access countless sources of data from anywhere at any time from multiple different devices. This has led to the rise of SDN technology that virtualises all proprietary network hardware, allowing operators to centralise control of their ever expanding networks. All networks devices can then be controlled in the same way, eliminating the need for countless vendor-specific management tools, all of which can be replaced with a single common network management tool.


Q-NET is the first satellite network solution of its type in the industry to adopt a software defined networking approach. Q-NET’s explicit support for SDN protocols even allows the satellite and terrestrial networks to be managed and controlled in exactly the same way. This has the benefit of creating seamless network management and service delivery over both terrestrial and satellite assets from a centralised control system.


But that is not all. Q-NET allows the creation of secure, resilient networks. Satellite networks are under ever increasing cyber-attack and are also subject to accidental or deliberate interference that degrades services. Our response has been to focus on:


  • Increasing security through encryption of all user and network monitor and control traffic, together with support for individualised login credentials for each named operator.
  • Adding resilience to all forms of interference using a number of highly advanced signal processing techniques.


Colin Mackay, Vice President of Engineering, commented: ‘Now, more than ever, service providers require secure, resilient networks and we continue to develop features that address these specific needs. In addition, by supporting Software Defined Networks we are simplifying and unifying how networks are controlled, making it much easier for operators to provision services regardless of the physical infrastructure and how that infrastructure changes over time. We are very pleased to be the first satellite solutions provider to offer this support.’


An overview of the Q-NET satellite network solution, including the features mentioned above, can be found here.