Enabling converged satellite and terrestrial access networks
Rural and remote areas, particularly in emerging countries, often lack broadband connectivity mainly due to economic constraints. This limits the access to existing and novel application and services, which often require a high connection speed. At the same time satellite systems have evolved significantly during the last decade leading to a tremendous decrease in cost per bit. In fact, satellite systems can provide very high bandwidth links. However, mainly due to the high signal propagation time, the latency on those links is significantly higher than in terrestrial networks. Simultaneously using terrestrial access technologies, such as, or cooperatively, in parallel to new high speed broadband satellite systems is believed to be a promising option to enable broadband connectivity to rural and remote regions. However, typically used load distributing methods, commonly used multi-homing environments might do more harm than good due to the heterogeneity of the technologies and in particular the higher latency of the satellite systems. This could affect service quality for especially latency sensitive applications. In this work we identify the key building blocks required to realize a converged satellite terrestrial network. Moreover, we present an easy to implement approach based on packet sizes that takes the satellite specifics into account and allows for providing broadband connectivity while maintaining a high QoS for the user.