Satellite Company Hughes Rolls Out Managed SD-WAN Services

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By Wyatt Carlson

Telecommunications and network services provider Hughes Network Systems today unveiled its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) service for government organizations, joining its HughesON ActiveTechnologies managed services suite.

Hughes is best known for providing Internet connection via satellite, but its SD-WAN service relies on broadband connectivity delivered through cable, fiber, LTE, and satellite. Although most of its customers use satellite as a secondary connection, satellite Internet is ideal for customers in rural areas where it might be the only option, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research.

“A big value proposition is how they manage and aggregate multiple broadband connections, and customers can buy whatever they want,” Kerravala said. “There is a stigma that they [Hughes] are an all-satellite company, but they have an overlay with a dynamic path selection.”

Hughes’ managed services suite is comprised of various capabilities, including path control technology that maximizes the availability of applications at the branch by routing them over the best performing path.

HughesON is also able to automatically classify traffic based on flow behavior, which allows enterprise customers to prioritize certain applications, particularly critical cloud-based services.

The qualtiy of service (QoS) feature allows enterprises to measure capacity on broadband links and to prioritize workloads to optimize each location’s bandwidth usage. This is helpful for enterprises that deliver voice-over IP (VoIP) and video traffic across multiple locations.

The managed SD-WAN service also incorporates on-premises and network-based security capabilities that are managed through Hughes Security Operations Center (SOC).

Although Hughes offers a number of technologies to government and residential customers, its ActiveTechnologies suite is geared toward connecting enterprise businesses, so offering SD-WAN seems like a natural transition for the provider.

In 2011, Hughes was acquired by satellite communications provider EchoStar in a deal valued at $1.3 billion.