In 2019, we once again had a paper accepted into IEEE Globecom, one of the world’s top communication conferences. This time, we argued that the widespread practice of banning UDP on satellite links might be counterproductive, again with evidence obtained using our simulator facility, showing that short TCP flows are just as “TCP unfriendly” as unregulated UDP.
Much of the current research in the area of satellite communication now focusses on 5G, spot beam management and the upcoming low earth orbit (LEO) constellations. The latter in particular are likely to play an important role in the Pacific in future, although the Pacific as such tends to be somewhat removed from people’s minds: Much of the research challenge revolves around squeezing more out of stretched bandwidth in the rising megalopolises of Asia and elsewhere.
This changed fundamentally the next morning with David Lassner’s keynote. He is currently president of the University of Hawaii System and was one of the main movers and shakers when it came to connectivity in the Pacific. He passionately argued that the Pacific was of key global scientific interest and deserved considerable focus from the communications research community. He cited astronomy, climate, geophysics, diabetes and tropical diseases, Antarctica and marine as research fields where the Pacific contributed above average. Some of my session participants later approached me saying “I hadn’t realised that the Pacific is so interesting …”. For me, this was Christmas come early!
Now I haven’t mentioned that Globecom 2019 was held on Big Island Hawaii? Well, I couldn’t resist a visit to nearby Spencer Beach, a nice spot for a swim, but also where the Southern Cross Cable from Takapuna in Auckland lands. A kind ranger explained to me where it was buried and confirmed my identification of the cable landing station up the hill. Who says cable communications is boring?