Open Source Satellite Network Simulator

Ref-Nr: TDO0171

Technology abstract

A Finnish network consulting company has developed a versatile open-source tool for satellite system vendors, operators and research organizations to perform network simulations and emulations for R&D purposes.

Technology Description

A Finnish company that provides tools & services for R&D in telecommunication networks has developed a Satellite Network Simulator. The Simulator has been developed together with ESA to provide a unified tool for the space industry while in addition serving the needs of terrestrial communication. Satellite Network Simulator 3 (SNS3) is a satellite network extension to the well-known open-source network simulator Network Simulator 3 (ns-3). This platform is a discrete event simulator for networking R&D. SNS3 models a full interactive multi-spot beam satellite network with a geostationary satellite and transparent star (bent-pipe) payload. The reference satellite system consists of 72 spot-beams with European coverage, 5 gateways and Ka-band frequencies.

SNS3 is a dynamic system simulator, which works at a physical level burst resolution. Its use cases range from full network level performance to a single user Quality of Service verification. SNS3 is built to be modular and flexible to provide extensibility to different satellite communication networks and use cases.

Innovations & Advantages

Simulators and emulators can provide insight into networking building blocks in a relatively fast and cost-effective manner without a need for early-stage prototypes. Simulations and emulations may have complementary roles; e.g. SNS3 simulations can be used for full-blown network performance analysis and SNS3 emulations can focus on protocol interaction. Example SNS3 use cases include e.g.

  • Algorithm and protocol design, development and optimization
  • Proof-of-concepts to support product development
  • Full satellite system performance assessment and end user quality of service verification
  • Higher layer protocol and application performance optimization
  • Visual satellite network demonstrations

Further Information

NS3 implements DVB-RCS2 and DVB-S2 specifications in return and forward link. Satellite network features include e.g.

  • Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM)
  • Return and forward link scheduling
  • Demand Assignment Multiple Access (DAMA): Constant Rate Allocation (CRA), Rate-Based Dynamic Capacity (RBDC), Volume-Based Dynamic Capacity (VBDC), Free Capacity Allocation (FCA)
  • Random Access (RA): Slotted ALOHA and Contention Resolution Diversity Slotted ALOHA (CRDSA)
  • Generic Stream Encapsulation (GSE)
  • Return Link Encapsulation (RLE)
  • Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ)
  • Multi-beam satellite antenna gain patterns
  • Packet-by-packet SNIR computation
  • Packet-by-packet co-channel and intra-beam interference tracking
  • Weather traces, Land-Mobile Satellite (LMS) channel
  • Error models

In addition, SNS3 benefits from numerous existing ns-3 models and features, such as various terrestrial air interfaces (LTE, WiFi), network and transport layer models, application models, real-time emulation support and direct code execution.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

SNS3 is developed to be highly modular and flexible to be able to match the future R&D needs of satellite system vendors, operators, research organizations, as well as the scientific community. Research topics may be related to e.g. overall satellite system performance analysis, RRM protocol optimization, and regenerative and adaptive payload. The satellite module source code has been planned to be integrated with the NS-3 main release for public access.