On-Board Closed-Loop Congestion Control for Satellite Based Packet Switching Networks

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

International Journal of Satellite Communications


NASA LeRC is currently investigating a satellite architecture that incorporates on-board packet switching capability. Because of the statistical nature of packet switching, arrival traffic may fluctuate and thus it is necessary to integrate congestion control mechanism as part of the on-board processing unit. This study focuses on the closed-loop reactive control. We investigate the impact of the long propagation delay on the performance and propose a scheme to overcome the problem. The scheme uses a global feedback signal to regulate the packet arrival rate of ground stations. In this scheme, the satellite continuously broadcasts the status of its output buffer and the ground stations respond by selectively discarding packets or by tagging the excessive packets as low-priority. The two schemes are evaluated by theoretical queuing analysis and simulation. The former is used to analyze the simplified model and to determine the basic trends and bounds, and the later is used to assess the performance of a more realistic system and to evaluate the effectiveness of more sophisticated control schemes. The results show that the long propagation delay makes the closed-loop congestion control less responsive. The broadcasted information can only be used to extract statistical information. The discarding scheme needs carefully-chosen status information and reduction function, and normally requires a significant amount of ground discarding to reduce the on-board packet loss probability. The tagging scheme is more effective since it tolerates more uncertainties and allows a larger margin of error in status information. It can protect the high-priority packets from excessive loss and fully utilize the downlink bandwidth at the same time.

Original Citation

Pong P. Chu, William D. Ivancic, & Heechul Kim. (1994). On-Board Closed-Loop Congestion Control for Satellite Based Packet Switching Networks. International Journal of Satellite Communications, 12, 6, 555, 568.