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Transport Protocol and Resource Management for Mobile Satellite Networks
ESA Project 14956/00/NL/ND, 2001-2003

This project was in part supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) under the contract number 14956/00/NL/ND. Several partners were involved in the project: several italian CNIT laboratories (University of Genova, Ferrara and Catania), Etnoteam and Marconi Mobile. The project dealt with the design and testing of a network architecture to efficiently transport TCP/IP flows over satellite links. Satellite channels are characterized by possibly high error rates (e.g., environmental disturbances such as rain and fog) and long propagation delays. It is well known that the TCP/IP protocol poorly performs in such conditions. A specific architecture, together with a new set of protocols is therefore needed to shield the TCP from these characteristics so as to provide good performance. The architecture was defined in the Workpackage 3200 of the project, where the well known TCP Split approach has been considered to achieve high energy/transmission efficiency over the satellite links. In addition to that, some new architectural concepts have also been introduced to maintain the End-to-End semantic (that is often being violated when the TCP Split approach is used).

The telecommunication group of the University of Ferrara was responsible for the Workpackage 4200 (WP4200) "Performance Evaluation", where the proposed architecture was tested and dimensioned in order to achieve optimal performance and to avoid some side effects at the TCP level. Particular attention was paid to armonize the input and output flows at the relay nodes, i.e., the access points to the satellite links. Simulation and analysis were used to carry out the performance evaluation and to dimension the various parts of the system under analysis.
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