Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Collective Solution To Accessing The Internet Via Satellite

Date:
December 10, 2008
Source:
ICT Results
Summary:
In many rural areas of Europe, getting on the internet means putting up with sluggish dial-up connections or, at best, erratic mobile services. A new satellite-based solution developed by European researchers promises to change that.

In many rural areas of Europe, getting on the internet means putting up with sluggish dial-up connections or, at best, erratic mobile services. A new satellite-based solution developed by European researchers promises to change that.

Plugging the gaps in broadband internet access via two-way satellite is not a new idea, but to date there have been relatively few examples of successful commercial deployments in areas where cable and dsl services have yet to reach. The fact that the signal has to travel 36,000 kilometres into space and back typically causes high latency, making applications such as voiceover internet protocol (VoIP) erratic, while the cost of the connection is often prohibitive for farmers and other rural residents who may just want to send email and check the weather forecast.

Part of the problem is that many previous initiatives focused on providing each home, ranch or farm with an individual satellite connection via their own two-way dish and developing new protocols to ensure quality of service, further pushing up implementation costs.

The researchers behind the EU-funded UNIC project took a different approach.

One dish serves all

Instead of individual dishes, they use a single dish to create a collective satellite gateway for a whole village or rural area. Local homes and businesses can then connect to the gateway via cables or wireless technologies, such as wimax, while more remote homes can access the internet with their own dishes.

Instead of reinventing the wheel when it came to ensuring quality of service, they adapted existing protocols and standards for new uses. And they focused on offering more services than internet access alone, including interactive digital television and video conferencing.

“We estimate that the monthly cost for users would be somewhere between 50 and 100 percent more than they would pay if they lived in a town or city that had DSL coverage. That may sound like a lot, but it is still reasonable if there are no alternatives,” explains Marco Luise who is in charge of the UNIC project’s dissemination activities at the University of Pisa in Italy.

He foresees the UNIC system being cost effective in villages with populations of up to a thousand people, at which point more traditional broadband access technologies, such as cable and DSL, become competitive – despite the cost of laying lines and setting up telephone exchanges.

The satellite connection offers data transfer rates of between one and two megabits per second compared to the eight Mb/s now common with DSL, but Luise notes that such transfer speeds are acceptable for most users.

“We carried out field trials at Montignoso, a village in Tuscany, Italy, where previously they had only telephone lines and the reaction of the test users was very positive,” notes project manager Jean-Michel Merour at Thales Alenia Space in Toulouse, France.

Other trials took place in Paris, Marseille, Cambridge and Hamburg with similarly positive results.

The UNIC system improves data rates and services by prioritising access depending on what each user is doing, thereby overcoming many of the quality of service issues that have dogged previous attempts at satellite broadband.

Using a technology called Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), originally developed as part of the DVB-S2 (Digital Video Broadcasting - Satellite Second Generation) standard to improve satellite reception in bad weather, the team have been able to make the UNIC system automatically adapt to users’ bandwidth requirements.

“Someone making a video conference or VoIP call, for example, will take priority over someone surfing the internet,” Luise explains.

Bridging the urban-rural digital divide

Digital television is provided on top of the bandwidth used for internet access, while the system also offers ample scope for other services to be added. These could include environmental and crop monitoring – applications of particular interest to farmers – or educational services and tourism information. In addition, because connections are made via a set-top box and TV, it allows people without computers or with little computer experience to access services just by pressing buttons on a remote control, thereby avoiding a steep learning curve.

“UNIC bridges the digital divide not just by giving rural residents broadband access but also by making it easier for people without computers to get online,” Luise says.

Besides Europe’s rural areas, the system’s ease of access and scalability makes it a strong candidate for providing telecommunication services in developing countries.

“Many areas of Africa, for example, have no telecommunications links. The focus now is on providing them with mobile phone coverage. However, satellite offers a viable alternative,” Luise notes.

Though the UNIC project has demonstrated the ability of satellite broadband to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas and developed and developing regions, there are still obstacles that need to be overcome before the technology can be deployed commercially. The principal factor is the initial implementation cost, something that Luise argues would have to be covered by a public-sector institutional partner, such as a town council or regional government to ensure the costs for end users are acceptable.

“Public funding would be needed to give it sufficient initial momentum,” Luise says, noting that the project consortium is currently looking for just such a partner.

The UNIC project received funding under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ICT Results. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ICT Results. "Collective Solution To Accessing The Internet Via Satellite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202081542.htm>.
ICT Results. (2008, December 10). Collective Solution To Accessing The Internet Via Satellite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202081542.htm
ICT Results. "Collective Solution To Accessing The Internet Via Satellite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202081542.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

AFP (Apr. 19, 2014) The Nintendo Game Boy celebrates its 25th anniversary Monday and game expert Stephen Upstone says the console can be credited with creating a trend towards handheld gaming devices. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) The Internet is taking important steps in patching the vulnerabilities Heartbleed highlighted, but those preventive measures carry their own costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company will use GPS data from the new Nearby Friends feature for advertising sometime in the future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins