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Getting the IBC Started

Objective

CATALYST intends to prove the applicability of satellite technology and its compatibility with the terrestrial IBC. Broadband islands developing across Europe will need cost effective and flexible means of interconnecting them whilst traffic levels are low and at a time when demand has not been demonstrated. In the future broadband services at relatively low traffic levels will be required in rural areas. CATALYST will develop some of the technology, using satellite techniques, to satisfy these needs. Within RACE, CATALYST will also support experiments in other projects by providing inter-island connectivity wherever practical.
The aim of the research was to demonstrate the applicability and compatibility of satellite technology with terrestrial integrated broadband communications (IBC). As broadband islands develop across Europe there will be a need for a cost effective and flexible means of interconnecting them whilst traffic levels are low and at a time when demand has not been demonstrated. In the longer term, there will be a requirement in rural areas for broadband services, but at relatively low traffic levels. It was a further aim of the research to develop some of the technology, using satellite techniques, to satisfy these needs and to support other experiments by providing interisland connectivity where this was practical.

Key issues in the research include:
the impact of satellites on reference configurations;
the effect of the use of satellites on the evolution of the IBC;
the impact of satellites on protocol design;
the use of existing protocols over satellite links;
constraints due to international and national regulations;
standardization;
the economics of IBC introduction.

Achievements include design and implementation of multipoint broadband satellite systems to connect advanced networks featuring:
standardized ground station interfaces for asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), fibre distributed data interface (FDDI), distributed queue dual bus (DQDB) and Ethernet end systems;
common ATM transport with high quality of service over satellite;
flexible routing and resource allocation using a distributed ATM switch concept.
Four major demonstrations have been performed and contributions have been made to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standards ensuring the compatibility of satellite and terrestrial systems.
Other results include the definition through common functional specifications (CFS) of the roles of satellites in relation to broadband networks and services, and of the factors determining interoperability, as well as identification of the technoeconomic issues and benefits of broadband satellite working.

The project shows that satellite technology is usable as a low cost, low risk entry route for the introduction of an IBC network, and illustrates the favourable characteristics of satellite use in peripheral and rural areas by providing immediate user connections throughout Europe, with service area reconfigurability and low initial set up cost.

As the development and expansion of localized broadband networks in Europe gains pace, the early availability of interconnections through broadband international networks has become a more urgent need. Satellite systems possess features which are well suited to meet this demand. The CATALYST project is therefore developing an experimental broadband satellite system based on asynchronous transmission (ATM) transport as common transmission medium to demonstrate interconnection of a range of different network technologies. This system includes interworking solutions between terrestrial and satellite transmission systems, including local area networks (LANs) and metropolitan area networks (MANs). The choice of ATM transport is also aimed at the study of compatibility issues of the emerging broadband integrated services digital network (B-ISDN).

The CATALYST system has been implemented in the form of a series of progressively developing demonstrators. These are used for evaluating the performance of the system by supporting a range of advanced interworking experiments involving heterogeneous broadband islands.
Technical Approach

The goals will be achieved by the use of demonstrators illustrating how satellite technology can extend access to and acceptance of IBC in the early years of its development. As IBC develops, the same technology will be applicable in peripheral areas. These demonstrators will address:

- The interconnection of several broadband islands (ATM, MAN and LAN technologies).
- The connection of remote users to a broadband island.

These demonstrations reflect areas of critical importance for the provision of a viable network and for the support of broadband services. To support them, CATALYST will also study other areas including network configuration, interfaces and inter-operability, network management, standardisation, economic aspects, modelling and future developments. These are considered necessary to ensure that satellite systems can truly be integrated into IBC.

The final demonstrators in CATALYST will implement an experimental ATM network, using satellite, usable in support of application pilots and other RACE projects.

Key Issues

- Impact of satellites on reference configurations.
- Effect of the use of satellites on the evolution of the IBC.
- Impact of satellites on protocol design.
- Use of existing protocols over satellite links.
- Constraints by international and national regulations.
- Standardisation.
- Economics of IBC introduction.

Expected Impact

The project will:
- Show that satellite technology is usable as low cost, low risk entry route for the introduction of an IBC network.
- Illustrate the favourable characteristics of satellite use in peripheral and rural areas by providing immediate user connections throughout Europe, with service area reconfigurability and low initial set up cost.

Coordinator

ALCATEL ESPACE SA
Address
5 Rue Noel Pons
92737 Nanterre
France

Participants (10)

ALCATEL BELL
Belgium
Address
Berkenrodelei 33
2650 Hoboken
ALCATEL TELSPACE
France
Address
5 Rue Noel Pons
92734 Nanterre
CENTRE OF PLANNING & ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Greece
Address
22 Hippokratous Street
10680 Athens
CET - TELECOM
Portugal
Address
R Jose Ferreira Pinto Basto
3800 Aveiro
COMPANHIA PORTUGUESA RADIO MARCONI SA
Portugal
Address
Av. Duque De Loule 97, 3
1000 Lisbon
EUTELSAT
France
Address
Tour Maine-montparnasse 33 Avenue Du Maine
75755 Paris
Space Engineering SpA
Italy
Address
Via Dei Berio 91
00155 Roma
TELECOM PARIS
France
Address
46 Rue Barrault
75634 Paris
University of Salford
United Kingdom
Address
The Crescent
M5 4WT Salford
University of Surrey
United Kingdom
Address

GU2 5XH Guildford