RazorLink® Smart Networking, an SD-WAN solution, provides seamless, carrier agnostic transitions between terrestrial and satellite communications.
It meets customers’ expectation – in anticipation of ubiquitous 5G services – to move seamlessly from a fixed to a mobile infrastructure while retaining connections, applications and workflows. They can continue to use their Smartphone and (secure) Cloud services without the need to reconfigure equipment or change applications.
RazorLink® ensures that, when these applications and services are provided via Satellite, the user experience and value perception remains positive, and maintains business continuity and social engagement, as if provided via terrestrial networks.
Integrating satellite communications with terrestrial services presents significant challenges given the physical properties and commercial implications of using satellite technology.
In addition, when a user moves out of cellular/WiFi coverage, or is operating in areas of highly contested capacity, the service performance degrades and eventually applications fail completely, leading to poor User Experience (UX) and value perception.
Historically, this has required the user to adopt custom applications and adopt new workflows. However, the growing dependency on cross platform Cloud services means this approach is no longer scalable.
The user expectation is moving fast to one where a seamless transition between fixed, cellular and satellite services is expected. This requires the ability to maintain a consistent service foundation, to cater for a wide range of applications in a true global context.
There are mature technologies that implement Performance Enhancing Protocols (PEP), Service selection, Load balancing and IP bonding. However, the majority require expensive proprietary hardware, restrict the customer to the supplier’s ecosystem and may only be available within a particular carriers’ network or footprint. Many are also not scalable in volume, network services, or applications.
An important fact is that these solutions tend to address one of the problems only, for example:
- A bonding solution can offer a “bigger pipe” with more bandwidth, but applications are still restricted by the behaviour of TCP.
- A load balancing system or Service Selection solution can manage demand across a set of networks, but requires the re-establishment of a TCP session when a service is lost.
- PEP solutions are often restricted to certain operating systems, modify the computers protocol stack or require specialist hardware. They may accelerate the performance of TCP but cannot bond or offer a solution for UDP streaming.
RazorLink® Smart Networking is cross platform software that transparently, comprehensively and inclusively addresses all these issues: Accelerating TCP, adding resilience to UDP, aggregating services for additional bandwidth and failover, defining a common security policy, providing network statistics, and offering a central management interface.
RazorLink® Smart Networking delivers a comprehensive solution to problems that have historically been addressed in isolation or solved at the application level.
- COTS applications can work efficiently over satellite, reducing the reliance on legacy platforms and solutions while supporting the transition to Cloud and SaaS services
- Agnostically combines networks to maximize available bandwidth, offers a seamless failover between services, while maintaining active connections across diverse networks/carriers
- Provides “IP Mobility” across networks and providers, thereby maintaining application sessions whilst transitioning across different network services
- Offers resilience to packet loss, packet re-ordering and poor network quality
- Offers priority access to services and applications that are critical to operations
- Selects network services based on cost, performance and geo-location
- Provides a comprehensive approach to security that does not impact on performance
- Supports a range of fully compatible networking topologies
- Offers an API for OEM to manage the QoS for a specific TCP connection or UDP flow
- Integrated with a Link Analysis Tool that can analyse underlying network performance
Smart Networking is cross platform software written in C++ that can be installed on a laptop, incorporated into a smartphone app, embedded in firmware, deployed like a router, or form part of a Telco’s infrastructure.
The SD-WAN solution provides WAN Optimisation across hybrid networks and secures robust communications for applications, services, the Cloud and IoT.
A Smart Networking system has two endpoints, which take on the role of “Client” and “Terminator”, as illustrated in the Figure below. A Client establishes outbound connections, whilst a Terminator receives inbound connections. It is possible for an endpoint to take on both roles and the architecture supports simultaneous connections between multiple endpoints. The Smart Networking Hybrid Comms as a Service (HCaaS) model offers a fully scalable framework in a private or public data centre combined with central management and service billing.
Smart Networking is aware of each TCP connection or UDP flow and manages each one according to a QoS policy that mirrors the traffic class concepts of 3GPP. The traffic is tunnelled between the two endpoints over the RazorLink Smart Networking protocol that provides the acceleration, bonding, resilience, security and prioritisation. Smart Networking can maintain performance and minimise overheads whilst encrypting payload data, distinct from VPN based architectures.
Smart Networking represents a complex software project consisting of a number of R&D phases. Phase 1 realised the underlying framework and Phase 2 the first commercial propositions.
Smart Networking Phase 3 includes protocols and framework enhancements, regression-testing tools, support for Cloud services, enhanced security, networking appliances and new topologies to support deployment within carrier networks. The Phase 3 development represents a 24-month project with the following milestones:
- Project Kick Off
- Preliminary Design Review
- Stage 1 Critical Design Review
- Stage 1 Factory Acceptance Testing
- Stage 2 Critical Design Review
- Stage 2 Factory Acceptance Testing
- Final Review
The Smart Networking Phase 3 project had a successful CDR2 Meeting on the 23rd of August 2018 with FAT Stage 2 planned for April 2nd 2019.
The Phase 3 Stage 2 (PS3S2) software is undergoing formal test and validation.
The developments associated with the Contract Change Notice for the development of Field Analysis Tools to validate customer installations and deploy Smart Networking onto locally purchased COTS hardware is aligned with Stage 2 developments.
Minimal Viable Product has been deployed in a wide range of markets including broadcast, extreme sporting events, security and autonomous vehicles and the Smart Networking technology now forms a key component of other projects such as LightB.