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TCP/IP enhancements for satellite networks

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2 Author(s)
N. Ghani ; Nokia Res. Center, Espoo, Finland ; S. Dixit

With the emerging market for high-mobility remote access broadband services, satellite networks are becoming increasingly popular. Although the ubiquitous TCP/IP protocol is widely used to provide reliable data delivery in terrestrial networks, it faces many challenges in satellite environments. These stem from the inherent features of satellite channels, such as large delays, increased error rates, and bandwidth asymmetry. To address these concerns, a variety of solutions have been proposed. These include direct TCP enhancements to better tune the TCP/IP stack and additional selective acknowledgment mechanisms. Other proposals use advanced interworking to reduce sensitivity to various channel features. Examples include multiple TCP sessions, link-layer interworking, and ACK control schemes. Improving onboard satellite features (buffer management, flow control) can also provide benefits for TCP/IP transport. The objective of this article is to present the various solutions and discuss their possible trade-offs. Overall, there exists a rich set of alternatives to meet the challenges in this important arena

Published in:

IEEE Communications Magazine  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 7 )