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Journal Paper


On-board Satellite "Split TCP" Proxy


Several satellite systems currently in operation or under development claim to support broadband Internet applications. In these scenarios, transmission control protocol (TCP) plays a critical role. Unfortunately, when used with satellite links, TCP suffers from a number of well-known performance problems, especially for higher data rates and high altitude satellites with longer delays. In response to these difficulties, the satellite and Internet research communities have developed a large gamut of solutions ranging from architectural modifications to changes in the TCP protocol. Among these, one approach requiring minimal modifications involves splitting the TCP connection in two or more segments with one segment connecting terrestrial nodes across the satellite network. In this paper, we consider an evolution of this idea: placing a TCP proxy on board the satellite that further subdivides the end-to-end connection into separate TCP connections between ground and space. We focus upon the efficient use of buffer resources on board the satellite, while at the same time enhancing TCP performance. We evaluate two TCP protocol versions, TCP NewReno and TCP Westwood. We consider various geosynchronous earth orbit satellite scenarios, with and without the split proxy, and with different channel error conditions (random errors, shadowing, etc). Using simulation, we show that an on-board proxy provides a number of distinct advantages and can enhance throughput up to threefold for both TCP New Reno and TCP Westwood, in some scenarios, with relatively modest on-board buffering requirements. The main contributions of this paper are: the on-board split proxy concept, the buffer management strategy, the use of a realistic “urban shadowing” model in the evaluation, and the extensive comparison of the recently announced TCP Westwood with the traditional TCP New Reno.

Paper: PDF file of paper

Information & Date

Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC), Special issue on Broadband IP Networks via Satellites, Vol. 22, n. 2, , February. 2004


M. Luglio
M. Y. Sanadidi
Mario Gerla
J. Stepanek