European Space Agency

Mobile Web Services Framework

Objectives

Project objectives are:



  • To deliver a product prototype of the Mobile Web Services Framework, comprising a set of standard web services, which can be deployed on any type of mobile satellite user terminal. The standard services include network performance testing services, a web cam service, a field data retrieval service and a GPS positioning service. Additional web services can be created within the framework, using specific APIs for tight integration with the satellite modem and other devices deployed.



  • In addition, the Mobile Web Services Framework includes a Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper is a web server deployed on the terrestrial Internet. Requests from clients to the mobile server will first be directed to the Gatekeeper and processed there, before being directed to the mobile server via the satellite connection. Within the Gatekeeper, transaction management services are deployed, which enable the Management of user terminal IP & DNS settings, security checking, feedback in case of network unavailability, and buffering of specific data from the mobile terminal.

In short, the MAGION solution is an out-of-the-box package for rapid deployment of mobile web services. It comprises the deployment of the standard Mobile Web Services Framework product, which in combination with MAGION ICT engineering skills can be configured in order to deliver mobile web services of any kind, using broadband satellite communication

Challenges

The key issues that will be addressed in the project are:



  • Reliability of the system that has to be operationally available 99,5 %, and in normal operation the system will be able to perform automatic start up if reboot of the system is needed without any operator/user intervention.



  • Speed: The total server roundtrip, starting from a request originating from a client PC to the Gatekeeper, security checking at the Gatekeeper, routing the request to the mobile web server, and responding back to the client PC, shall take place within 10 seconds. In case a client request involves buffered GPS or other information, the Gatekeeper response has to be within 5 seconds.



  • Quality: The Gatekeeper shall track the status of the Mobile server using on-request based system checks, and perform testing of the communication link.

Benefits

Although a relative mature market already exists for web servers on mobile devices (such as Windows CE web server for PDAs), no standard solutions are available for web services of mobile PCs with internet connections via satellite. The intended customer base for MAGION are end user organisations, currently using mobile satellite terminals. Although these organisations already have applications installed related to GPS tracking & tracing and data transfer, no integrated solution set is available for deploying web services on their mobile PCs with broadband satellite Internet access.

The project approach taken is based on both developing a technical workout of the solution, as well as marketing the solution within the target group of potential customers. The commercial approach is based on promoting the mobile web services towards end user organisations as a Value Added Service of their satellite communications provider. End user organisations can choose from a list of standard mobile web services, such as monitoring & testing services, a GPS service and a Field Data Retrieval service. Deploying these services and/or customising these services can be done by MAGION.

Features

 








The physical architecture of the system (shown at right) consists of the following components:


click for larger image


Mobile Server
The Mobile Server is a mobile remote computer, linked to the Internet via an Inmarsat Regional Broadband Global Area Network (RBGAN) User Terminal (UT). The mobile web services are active on this server. Note that the Mobile Server can simultaneously be used as both server and as a client PC, and can be linked to other computers on the remote site via a LAN. The web services on the Mobile Server only accept requests originating from the Gatekeeper. No response shall be given to requests from any other Internet address.

Gatekeeper
The Gatekeeper is placed on the terrestrial Internet, and acts as the sole gateway to the Mobile Server. The Gatekeeper may serve multiple Mobile Servers. The main function of the Gatekeeper is to perform authentication and authorisation of requests before sending them to the Mobile Server. In addition, the Gatekeeper can store buffered data from one or more Mobile Servers. This will enable more economic usage of the satellite link.

RBGAN UT / Thuraya Satellite / RBGAN SAS
The physical connection between the remote web server and the Gatekeeper is established using a Satellite Access Station, a Telecommunications Satellite and a satellite modem. These systems can be from any vendor / satellite communication provider. For the purpose of this project, the Gatekeeper and Mobile Web Server are connected using a Satellite Access Station, the Thuraya Satellite from Hughe

Plan

The work programme contains a design, development, validation and demonstration period of in total 12 months. The project work is divided into 6 work packages; project management, system design, system development, test/validation, demonstration and final report. The project kicked-off on 1st of December 2003, Baseline Design Review was carried out in February 2004, Mid Term Review took place in July 2004, final test report is set for October 2004, and the Final project report is set for November 2004.

Current status

According to planning, in December 2004 the MAGION project team succesfully delivered the first version of the Mobile Services Framework package for release. Field tests with the Oil & Gas well test pilot application have been concluded and final adjustments to the Framework and the Gatekeeper have been made. Activities on short term will focus on commercialising the Mobile Services Framework product.

Status date

Thursday, June 19, 2008 - 18:12