ViaSat's SurfBeam 2 network incorporates space-based components (i.e., satellites) and ground-based components (e.g., subscriber terminals, gateway earth stations). The communications links between space-based and ground-based components use a pre-defined amount of radiofrequency spectrum to communicate without wires.
Subscriber traffic is routed to and from the Internet (and other public networks) through a designated ground-based facility known as a gateway earth station. At these gateways, traffic is processed through a satellite modem termination system (SMTS) and other terrestrial networking equipment, which then interconnects with a terrestrial fiber optic network and, eventually, the Internet.
CONGESTION MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
ViaSat manages its network to prevent adverse impact on the customers experience. This congestion usually occurs between the customer’s location and ViaSat's ViaSat-1 satellite. This is monitored to determine if a high level of traffic exists. If so, those channels are given precedence so the subscriber applications with greater than normal sensitivity to delay is not impacted.
IMPACT OF CONGESTION ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Satellite Internet has always been plagued with congestion problems. How to divide the limited amount of bandwidth between its customer base. Earlier on, most products (services) did not even bother to address congestion. That is why some services were more robust early in the morning and dreadfully slow in the evenings when most were online with their systems. Later products tried to maintain its limited capacity by employing methods that meant their customer experience was always slow. Both methods failed to take into consideration the overall impact on the customer.
VIASAT'S CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GOAL
Viasat plans to manage it's network to minimize qualitative impact of
congestion on traffic. Pretty lofty goals but one they hope to achieve
with use of an algorithm that reduces traffic for everyone but give
precedence to applications that are more sensitive to delay.
They plan on dividing traffic into three distinct types.
TYPE 1 - VOIP, Internet Browsing (HTTP, HTTPS)
The Network is designed to give preference to video/audio streaming/progressive downloads and Internet browsing. HTTPS has always been an issue with a satellite connection. Newer technology allows them vastly improve on this.
TYPE 2 - Dedicated to email, small files (generally less than 50MB
Under congestion, subscribers may experience somewhat lower speeds for this type of traffic. The Type 2 traffic may be shaped by adjusting "small" file size that may be less time-sensitive.
TYPE 3 - Large file transfers (excess of 50MB)
Usually, larger files are associated with updates for computers and applications. In this case, it is deemed that a longer duration of the overall transfer is less effected by assigning it to a lower priority. During times of congestion subscribers may experience longer delays.
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