SmartSky Networks to Build Air-to-Ground Broadband Network

By CIOReview | Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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robust Air-to-Ground broadband networkFREMONT, CA: SmartSky Networks, an aviation communications provider has selected Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) to build a robust Air-to-Ground broadband network, as recently announced by the companies. SmartSky Networks intends to leverage the companies’ interoperable and pre-certified network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions.

To seamlessly connect more than 250 cell sites strategically situated across the U.S., SmartSky has decided to deploy the Brocade Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) running on VMware vCloud NFV and implement a new network. In addition, the airborne users can have a similar experience of their office or home through SmartSky’s Air-to-Ground network. To support SmartSky’s high-speed broadband service running over a large geographic area, Brocade and VMware’s integrated solutions will adopt a software-defined approach, which is agile, flexible, and cost-effective.  

“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,” stated David Claassen, Vice President of Network and Service Architecture at SmartSky. “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 ROI while increasing our service-ability and reducing many of the operational headaches common with traditional hardware-based networks. Brocade and VMware are delivering a combined NFV solution that will help us accelerate our delivery of this unique service offering.”

Brocade’s vEPC facilitates seamless data services across the continent, eliminating redundant functionalities and internode dependencies, which in turn lowers the cost of ownership and boosts performance more efficiently than physical node-based packet cores.

“Brocade and VMware have collaborated for years as NFV partners, driving performance, scalability and life-cycle management for network functions to customers such as SmartSky,” said Nishi Kant, vice president of mobile networking, Brocade. “Stability, ease of deployment and ongoing management of the Brocade vEPC solution are recurring themes in our customer deployments, and certification of the Brocade vEPC as VMware Ready for NFV gives customers confidence in the interoperability of our NFV platforms.”