WASHINGTON � Software-defined networking and network functions virtualization are not being used only by land-based communications providers.
Satellite provider SES is using dynamic bandwidth allocation and beam steering via SDN principles on its O3b fleet. The current generation of technology for O3b allows it to steer beams and dynamically control the amount of bandwidth to endpoints within those beams.
In fact, SES is contracted with Royal Caribbean to provide services using the O3b fleet of medium Earth orbit satellites (MEOS) for shipboard communications, according to fiercewireless.com. �It used to be that passengers would get on a cruise ship and immediately store their cell phone in a drawer because it lacked coverage. But that's all changed now, and passengers are able to use Facetime and all the things they expect to do on land,� according the article.
The next generation of O3b satellites will take the �follow-the-ship� concept even further, directing many more beams. SES recently announced that it has contracted its first O3b mPower technology partner, Boeing Satellite Systems, to build seven MEO satellites. The updated constellation will have 30,000 fully shapeable and steerable beams that can be shifted and switched in real time to align with its customers� capacity needs, providing coverage to an area of nearly 400 million square kilometers, or four-fifths of Earth�s surface.