European Space Agency

Projects support emerging Internet Protocols

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Three new projects have begun to develop new methods of providing Internet services over DVB broadcast networks. The projects will also investigate the future use of the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
Due to an expected increase in the use of satellite telecommunications in the areas of Internet Trunking, Content Distribution and Direct Internet Access via satellite, ESA has initiated some activities to support the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 in the area of satellite telecommunications. This transition is already being prepared in the terrestrial world by a number of organisations such as the European Commission IPv6 Task Force of which ESA is a member.
To view the Task Force home page, click on external links on the right of this page.

The first of these three projects takes the form of a study by IABG of Germany. They are investigating the general impact of IPv6 in satellite telecommunications. A focus of this project will be to identify areas where there is a lack of support for IPv6. Additionally, they will look at how IPv4 and IPv6 can co-exist during a long transition period. Similarly, smooth migration strategies, necessary for enhanced transmission rates will need to be determined.

The two other projects are being undertaken as a result of the IP-over-DVB community's desire to investigate more efficient encapsulation mechanisms for IPv4 over DVB/MPEG2. These projects specifically take into account the need for IPv6 support. The first of these projects is being conducted by IABG and 6WIND of France. The second, by Joanneum Research of Austria along with the Computing Science Department of the University of Salzburg and GCS both also from Austria, as well as The University of Aberdeen in Scotland and EMS Technology from Canada.

The two project teams will independently develop prototypes of emerging Internet Drafts. These are standards needed before IPv6 can be properly supported. One of these drafts, Ultra Light Encapsulation (ULE) be implemented. The projects will also investigate other topics as set out in the draft charter of the emerging IP-over-DVB/MPEG2 IETF WG.
To read the charter, click on external links on the right of this page.


The two parallel projects follow guidelines established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) because it is customary within the IETF to test independent implementations for interoperability. An event to test the two prototypes for interoperability is planned for February 2004.


Pilot trials with these new encapsulations are planned for spring 2004.

Event Date

19 November 2003
Published 23 October 2008
Last updated at 23 October 2008 - 11:38