Multi-service IP next generation satellite networks

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The general objectives of this project have been:

  • To define new service scenarios for consumer and professional users, based on two-way satellite systems for Next Generation Networks (NGN) multi-services delivery,
  • To identify generic technical requirements concerning Service Level Agreement (SLA) management for the implementation of NGN multi-services over two-way satellite systems, then to derive from them specific requirements for DVB-RCS systems,
  • Based on these specific requirements, to specify the needed mechanisms, process and protocols and to define an overall functional system architecture optimized for an automated, easy and dynamic SLA management in integrated satellite/terrestrial networks, to validate and assess the proposed functional system architecture and protocols, through simulation,
  • To identify missing functionality or required modifications in the DVB-RCS standard in order to complement broadband satellite systems using this standard based solution.

The evolution of existing broadband satellite systems towards an NGN infrastructure will be crucial for the successful integration of the satellite systems in the new “converged telecommunication scenario”. SLA management plays a key role in provisioning value-added IP services over Next Generation Networks. This study introduces SLA management procedures in the next generation of satellite systems.


The evolution of existing satellite systems towards NGN infrastructure is a key element in the integration of satellite into new “convergence” concept.

One of the main objectives of the NGN is to provide quantitative end-to-end QoS guarantees to individual multimedia services / applications over a multitude of network technologies on the end-to-end path (including both access and core networks). This requires a big effort taking into account the specific features and constraints of satellite networks compared to terrestrial networks. SLA management is one of the essential aspects to be studied.

This convergence provides new business models and services for the satellite industry. The results from this project attempt to move Satellite Access Networks (SAN) to NGN, to clearly identify the necessary changes to perform SLA management over SAN as any other transport network.


In NGN one can distinguish four major actors: access network, core network, service provider network and end user. The roles in the transport plane suggest that NGN may include both access networks and core networks. Satellite networks, are typically used as access network.

The ensemble of roles associated with a target satellite network, in both service and transport planes, can be described as follows:

  • Satellite Operator (SO): Provides the satellite (space) segment and the satellite ground facility, consisting primarily of the Satellite Operating Centre (SOC).
  • Satellite Network Operator (SNO): Provides the basic network infrastructure, i.e. transmission and connectivity resource in the entire satellite system.
  • Interactive Network Access Provider (INAP): Offers the physical connections between service providers and subscribers via its network and the satellite links.
  • Service Provider (SP): SP is the re-seller of capacity to individual customers (subscribers).
  • Content Provider: The owner of (broadcast or interactive) content, which is delivered to the end users through the service providers.
  • Subscriber: The entity (consumer or organization) that negotiates and uses the services provided by the SP(s) via the INAP.
  • User (or end-user): The physical person or application that uses the subscribed services through multimedia terminals connected directly or through a local network (LAN) to the Satellite Terminal.

The relationships between various actors in NGN (and the roles they support) are captured in the model in the figure below, which also shows the cardinality between them. The model is a reflection of the basic NGN architecture, in the sense that it includes both core networks (one represented) and access networks.

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The work to be done was performed over 12 months and was divided in six separate tasks:

  • Task 1: Service scenario and requirements definition.
  • Task 2: Detailed specifications.
  • Task 3: Proof of concept, trade-offs and protocols and procedures validation.
  • Task 4: Recommendation summary.
  • Task 5: Dissemination and Standards contribution.
  • Task 6: Management.
Current status

The project was successfully completed on November 2009.

The main results achieved in Task 1 were:

  • Definition of five service scenarios representative for the evolution of existing broadband satellite systems towards the Next Generation Network (NGN) infrastructure.
  • Selection of three reference service scenarios for the rest of the study.
  • Definition of the High Level Functional Architecture representing the satellite access network and its interfaces to terrestrial networks within an NGN framework.
  • Definition of SLA management functions requirements.

In Task 2, the main achievements were:

  • Specification of the overall functional system architecture of the target satellite access network integrated into the NGN infrastructure. This architecture is defined at the level of Functional Entities (FEs) in the INAP (Interactive Network Access Provider) and SP (Service Provider) networks, bringing together the mechanisms, protocols and interfaces identified for the FEs associated with the functional areas covered by Task 2, namely:
    • Service management and policy-based management
    • SLA management, in conjunction with QoS management and dynamic resource control
    • Service/Network/Performance Monitoring
  • Definition of the Functional Architecture of the DVB-RCS NG Network integrated in NGN, identifying the adaptations to be made in DVB-RCS to be integrated in the all-IP network.

In Task 3, a simulator tool has been developed to validate the NGSN functional system architecture. The simulator represents in a visual mode the main interactions, mechanisms and protocols required for SLA management between the functional entities distributed throughout this architecture.

The simulation campaign covered three Service Scenarios Use cases that correspond to those specified in Task 1 (Consumer Triple Play, Emergency, Mobility). One particular use case within each service scenario is selected to be represented in the simulator (e.g. Mixing of services use case from the Consumer Triple Play service scenario). This way, operators or holders can understand which services and which functionalities they can expect from these new models/functions.

The main achievements in Task 3 were:

  • Definition of the requirements for the simulator and simulation campaign,
  • Selection of the simulation tool,
  • Definition of the Simulation Framework Architecture,
  • Detail design of the simulation framework Architecture,
  • Definition of the Simulation Plan,
  • Implementation of the Simulator: the different software components were done and integrated,
  • Analysis from the simulation and validation tests.

Task 3 has developed a Simulator tool to According to the results, in Task 4/Task5 the following contributions have been provided:

  • Contribution to TM-RCS New Generation Call for Technologies including topics in SLA management,
  • Contribution to SES BSM STF383 for NGN over Satellite,
  • Provision of guidelines and methodologies for the design and implementation of the functional architecture and recommendation of suitable software tools, platforms, applications and standards for the implementation of the architecture.

The project Final Presentation was part of the “Satcom integration with Next Generation Networks using IMS” Workshop on the 5th November 2009.

click for larger image