2012.A.2.3 Simulating Delay Tolerant Networking for CubeSats


Paul Muri (1) and Janise McNair (1)

  1. University of Florida


A.2 – Technology – Communications, Planning, Operations, and Computing Issues for Interplanetary CubeSat Missions


Satellite Communication, Space Internetworking, CubeSat, Cluster, Network, Simulation, Delay Tolerant Networking


Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) is a communication protocol suite that addresses many of the communication challenges CubeSats encounter with space exploration including low transmission power, intermittent connectivity, long delay, and high bit error rate. Most research for DTN space communication relies on simulation for protocol validation and integration since real deployments are often either very expensive or impossible. This paper describes a virtual space inter-networking environment to control test bed nodes of Linux-based hardware candidates for CubeSats. For this test bed, a Network Simulator 3 (NS-3) module modeled physical DTNs up to the data link layer as WiFi-type given topology and mobility patterns, ranges, and data rates. At the networking stack’s higher layers, the simulation platform emulates DTN on nodes external to NS-3. Nodes include virtual machines, Linux containers, or external hardware nodes as candidates for an experimental payload for CubeSats. For experimentation, DTN models for CubeSat clusters were designed and compared to UDP/IP clusters and constellations. When compared with UDP/IP cluster, the DTN metrics outperform with higher data-rate, lower bundle-drop ratio, less overhead, and longer transmission windows for the given mobility models. The test bed proves that a DTN inter-networking solution overcomes CubeSat communication limitations for space exploration.


  • Download slides in PDF format here
  • Low quality video available here


  • Download paper here

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