Telecommunication Systems

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 615–628 | Cite as

Towards SDN/NFV-enabled satellite networks

  • Georgios Gardikis
  • Harilaos Koumaras
  • Chris Sakkas
  • Vaios Koumaras


The telecom community is during the last years witnessing a paradigm shift towards the virtualisation/ “softwarisation” of the network infrastructure, mostly driven by the concepts of software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV). At the same time, satellite telecommunication technologies, although rapidly advancing in various fields, have not so far adequately followed this trend. The paper investigates the applicability of SDN and NFV technologies to satcom platforms and determines the benefits and the challenges associated with the integration of satellite infrastructures into future software-based networks. To that end, it identifies specific use cases which clearly benefit from the softwarisation of the satcom network and proposes a functional architecture for federated satellite-terrestrial software-based networks. The architecture is implemented in a lab environment which is used to validate some of the proposed use cases. Furthermore, a techno-economic analysis is conducted, which presents clear economic benefits via the introduction of SDN and NFV in the satcom ecosystem.


Satellite networks Softwarisation SDN NFV Satellite-terrestrial integration 



This work has been performed under the European Space Agency ARTES 1 project CloudSat (“Scenarios for integration of Satellite Components in Future Networks”—ESA/ESTEC Contr. No.: 4000110995/14/NL/AD). The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency. The authors would like to thank Mrs. Maria Guta (ESA) for her guidance and support throughout the whole study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgios Gardikis
    • 1
  • Harilaos Koumaras
    • 2
  • Chris Sakkas
    • 2
  • Vaios Koumaras
    • 2
  1. 1.R&D DepartmentSpace Hellas S.A.AthensGreece
  2. 2.National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”AthensGreece

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