The Auckland Satellite TCP/IP Traffic Simulator

Billions of people on earth take their Internet connectivity for granted. Fibre-optic submarine cables connect countries, cities and continents. But fibre isn’t an option for every service provider: Remote communities and those on the move, such as cruise ships and planes, rely on satellite Internet. But satellites mean long latencies and limited, expensive bandwidth, and performance is often not comparable to terrestrial service. So we want to make sure that we use the resource well. The purpose of our satellite TCP/IP traffic simulator project is to create a testbed with which we can evaluate configurations and innovative solutions to improve satellite link utilisation, performance and user experience.

What are the questions we want to answer?

The list is quite long, but our initial goals are:

  • We’d like to know under which circumstances (link type – GEO or MEO, bandwidth, load, input queue size) various adverse effects such as TCP queue oscillation or standing queues occur.
  • We’d like to know what input queue size represents the best compromise in different circumstances.
  • We’d like to know how much improvement we can expect from devices peripheral to the link, such as performance-enhancing proxies and network coders.
  • We’d like to know how best to parameterise such devices in the scenarios in which one might deploy them.
  • We’d like to know how devices with optimised parameters behave when loads and/or flow size distributions change.

That’s just a start, of course, and before we can answer any of these, the biggest question to solve is: How do you actually build, configure, and operate such a simulator?

Visit us here to keep up with what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and who we’re working with.

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