EECS500 Fall 2015 Department Colloquium

Brian Barritt
Aerospace Networking and Temporospatial SDN
White 411
November 24, 2015

Multiple companies have recently announced plans to provide Internet access from large aerospace networks.  Examples include plans for thousands of LEO satellites from SpaceX and a competing proposal from OneWeb (backed by Virgin Galactic and Qualcomm).  Other companies are betting on revolutionary new atmospheric, unmanned High-Altitude Platforms (HAPs), including Google’s Project Loon, Titan Aerospace, and Facebook’s Aquilla.  These differ enormously in comparison to current GEO satellite Internet services and even other LEO satellite constellations (like Iridium).  Operating these new systems will require improved automation of functions including multi-hop relay configuration, relay failover, selection of optimal network routes, multicast distribution, and store-and-forward capabilities.

SDN provides a software abstraction layer that yields a logically centralized view of the network for control plane services and applications.  Recently, new requirements have led to proposals to extend this concept for Software-Defined Wireless Networks (SDWN), which decouple radio control functions, such as spectrum management, mobility management, and interference management, from the radio data-plane.  By combining these concepts with high-fidelity modeling of predicted mobility patterns and wireless communications models, we can enable SDN applications that optimally and autonomously handle aerospace network operations, including steerable beam control, RF interference mitigation, and network routing updates.  This approach, which we call Temporospatial SDN, enables SDN applications to make network control decisions based on the location, motion, and orientation of assets in space, the relationships between those assets and their constraints, and the quality of wireless communications as assets move through space and time.


Brian Barritt is a software engineering Tech Lead/Manager at Google, where he works on building the Project Loon and Titan Aerospace networks.  Prior to joining Google, Brian co-founded Alanax Technologies, a startup specializing in the design and operation of aerospace networks.  He has led successful engineering projects at Cisco and for NASA's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program.  Brian holds a BS and MS in Computer Engineering (CWRU ‘06) as well as an MBA, and he's currently a part-time Ph.D. Candidate at Case Western Reserve University.