European Space Agency

SatNetCode Satellite Network-Coding for High Performance, Semantic-Aware Mission-Critical Visual Communications

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Objectives

SatNetCode will provide reliable end-to-end visual-data communications for mission-critical operations by integration of adaptive network re-encoding and can, in target multi-hop networks, increase relevant information throughput while reducing bandwidth usage to less than half. 

SatNetCode non-exclusively targets users in emergency, disaster, safety and security organizations, that need visual situational awareness. For these organizations, operational scenarios (with observers, decision makers and actions teams) consist of several physical nodes at different locations communicating using different networks.

By advancing beyond the traditional approaches of routing and forward erasure correction codes, SatNetCode exploits the opportunities to use novel in-network coding schemes in order to increase the overall throughput in these scenarios to provide better quality of experience for critical operations.

Challenges

In this project, two key challenges were identified to deliver reliable end- to-end visual-data communications with network coding:

First, to protect data from packet erasures in an end-to-end solution where mobile satellite links are involved as a key network component, and linked with other networks. These networks may under difficult conditions be unstable and unpredictable, resulting into network impairments including packet erasures and varying bandwidth. This will affect the quality of the visual data, and subsequently, the mission- critical operations.

Second, the need of innovation in design methodology for virtualization of network coding functions that can be used irrespective of the underlying physical network and for any offered services. Overall, it increases the flexibility, scalability and rapid deployment while creating significant cost saving.

Benefits

SatNetCode provides better capabilities for end-to-end services over heterogeneous networks that include satellite. Novel innovation takes Europe beyond state-of-the-art satellite networking and opens up for exploitation of new and powerful services.

The product will increase the performance of an existing product for video streaming and can be considered as a toolbox product for other satellite-optimized applications.

SatNetCode will increase user experience for visual communications when satellite-links are use in the access domain for either sender, receiver or both sides, for a wide range of applications such as:

  • Disaster management
  • Emergency communication
  • Security
  • Surveillance
  • Remote monitoring (home security, land security, etc)
  • Tele-medicine

Dynamic bandwidth that both changes in capacity and quality can be used more optimally. SatNetCode can also provide added security elements. The coding technology is also flexible for application of future usage in a wide number of different communication/networking applications. AnsuR has developed the ability in another project (HENCSAT) to use multiple networks not only in series but also in parallel, based on SatNetCode technology components.

Features

Main Features developed and tested with SatNetCode:

  • Better quality, robustness and lower capacity needs for end-to-end visual communication under packet-loss conditions.
  • Higher “goodput” rates and smaller residual packet losses with network coding as compared to state-of-the-art routing protocols.
  • Adjustable coding minimizes overhead. Flexible coding rates.
  • Demonstration testbed with several network re-encoding nodes in line topology.
  • Novel network Coding solutions without known IPR, using less overhead than random codes.

Possible Extensions and future capabilities.

  • Application layer multicasting.
  • Integration with multi-dimensional network coding with multiple paths, multiple sources, etc.
  • Integration into drone operations and specific products for mission-critical video from UAVs.
  • Integration with interactive photo and video clip communication.

Selected non-exclusive use Case Scenarios:

  • Video streaming from UAVs
  • Video to and from Emergency Vehicles

System Architecture

The basic system architecture is simple. There are:

  • Sources (like cameras) providing video
  • Computers for running SatNetCode and application software
  • Communications equipment, like sitcom terminals
  • Network emulators
  • A first receiver node that passes content onwards and works as a re-encoding node
  • A final viewing node.

The high level architecture of the project is displayed below with the mapping of the physical nodes and logical network coding nodes.

The focus in this project is primariliy on the design and implementation of network coding functional blocks at these network coding nodes. 

 

Plan

The duration of the project is 24 months.

The basic milestone planning is as follows:

  • MS1 Baseline Design Review (BDR)
  • MS2 Mid Term Review (MTR)
  • MS3 Final Review (FR)

Current status

The project was completed on November 2018.

SatNetCode targets mission-critical video streaming from UAVs and vehicles, specifically at low rates via satcom, and addresses the challenge of accumulated packet loss in a chain of potentially unreliable mobile satellite and cellular networks.

A demonstration test bench is built, and results are published. A novel systematic capacity-achieving network coding scheme using less capacity than random codes is developed and tested. The re-encoding nodes developed prevent errors from propagating, and SNC video is not affected by multiple network hops.

The next development targets a software product for Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200, and addresses use like UAV assessment offshore with video to HQ and land and relayed to ships out at sea. Plans include technology development with UAV flights together with Robot Aviation. 

Contacts

ESA Contacts

Status date

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 17:15