VSAT return Channel Optimizations for Broadband Internet Support in 2-Way Satellite Networks
Date: October 20 - October 22, 2010
In this paper we describe our work on a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite Internet gateway with capacity and latency optimizations in the return channel so as to allow significantly higher number of users, and a better user experience. The gateway is based on the Cerona SkySPAN technology which uses the Digital Video Broadcast via Satellite 2nd standard (DVB-S2) in the forward channel, and single-channel slotted Aloha protocol in the return channel. In this paper we describe the Spread Aloha Multiple Access (SAMA) protocol which we implement in the return channel. The SAMA protocol promises to deliver high speeds at a third of the latency compared to competing technologies like DVB-RCS (multi-frequency TDMA), while allowing the same number of users in 3MHz bandwidth as is possible in TDMA using 36MHz. We also describe the implementation of the Fast Multi-channel Slotted Aloha (FMCSA) protocol that will co-exist with SAMA in the return channel. FMCSA combines slotted Aloha random access with packet level forward error correction (FEC) for new messages and scheduled retransmissions for partially received messages. Due to the parity packets sent in FMCSA, more load is offered to the channel than in SAMA to achieve the same throughput. The delay performance of FMCSA is also much more robust to load fluctuations than SAMA. The combination of SAMA and FMCSA improves the robustness and throughput of the SkySPAN return channel and reduces the channel latency, while supporting significantly higher number of users, in comparison to the competition.