Hughes Introduces Smart Network Edge Software for DoD Communications

Optimizing any combination of commercial and military communication networks, the Hughes Smart Network Edge remotely manages multi-transport modems, autonomously selecting routing paths and distributing packetized data across multiple networks By Joseph Macey / 25 Apr 2023
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Hughes Network Systems, an EchoStar company, has launched its Smart Network Edge software for defense network operations.

The Hughes Smart Network Edge serves as a virtualized SD-WAN router, interconnecting at the management layer to enable network interoperability across carriers and vendors while meeting U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) security criteria.

Optimizing any combination of commercial and military communication networks, including cable, fiber, 5G, Geostationary satellite and Low Earth Orbit satellite, the Hughes Smart Network Edge remotely manages multi-transport modems, autonomously selecting routing paths and distributing packetized data across multiple networks based on policies and priorities. In addition, the software collects Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security (FCAPS) data for enhanced situational awareness and policy refinement.

“Hughes Smart Network Edge represents the culmination of years of work we’ve undertaken to help the DoD take advantage of equipment and transports from multiple providers combined with our extensive expertise managing large and diverse networks,” said Rick Lober, Vice President and General Manager, Defense & Government Systems Division, Hughes. “It’s software-defined networking in the very broadest sense, orchestrating typically stove-piped communications systems in use across the DoD to enable secure network interoperability and resiliency at scale.”

Based on Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and HTTP standards, among others, the Hughes Secure Network Edge is engineered for use across diverse network transports from multiple manufacturers and carriers of wired, wireless and satellite connectivity, such as the 5G and satellite terminals in the private 5G deployment Hughes is leading at the Naval Air Station in Whidbey Island. In addition to commercial satellite transports, the Smart Network Edge accommodates modems with anti-jam capabilities that are indispensable under rising threats from near peer states.

“As the DoD relies increasingly on redundant and interoperable terrestrial and satellite networks for mission-critical communications, our Smart Network Edge software automates the decision-making necessary to optimize the edge devices – whether a few or a few hundred,” added Dr. Rajeev Gopal, Vice President, Advanced Systems, Hughes. “In addition to powering decision-making across network terminals, the software integrates with management platforms, such as Enterprise Management & Control, and includes policy parameters such as cost, availability, speed and latency to meet operational objectives.”

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