EXPOSE Experiment by National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos”


The aim is the development and validation of the necessary extensions to the current SoftFIRE federated testbed, in order to enhance it with the capability to execute experiments involving satellite communication systems. EXPOSE has also provided a satellite system emulation platform, whose components have been virtualised and suitable to run on the SoftFIRE testbed.

The experiments successfully executed in EXPOSE were as follows:

Experiment #1: Hybrid media distribution network as-a-Service
This scenario focuses on the federation of satellite and terrestrial domains and the provision of a hybrid satellite/terrestrial access network slice to a media service provider for content distribution. Hybrid distribution of digital media, combining satellite broadcast and terrestrial IP, is a scenario which is gaining increasing attention during the last years, due to the fact that it brings together the best of both worlds: high-bitrate and high-quality 2D/3D broadcast content, coupled with interactive personalized services.

Experiment #2: Federated terrestrial-satellite VPN
This experiment is mostly oriented to enterprise or institutional use and assumes a customer with several distributed Points of Presence (PoPs) (such as the SoftFIRE testbed), e.g. headquarters, branches, remote offices, mobile units etc which need to be interconnected into an integrated corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN). It is also assumed that some of the PoPs are outside terrestrial network coverage, for example in isolated areas or in long-haul routes (ships, airplanes etc.). For this reason, the VPN needs to encompass both the terrestrial and the satellite infrastructures in order to cover all PoPs. Satellite connectivity is not required only when terrestrial coverage is missing, but also in cases when a backup link is required for redundancy, when the availability requirements are strict (e.g. in mission-critical applications etc.)

Experiment #3: Dynamic Satellite backhauling with edge processing
The dynamic backhauling with edge processing as-a-Service scenario investigates the dynamic extension of terrestrial networks via satellite links, in cases where terrestrial coverage is inadequate. Beyond allocating capacity on-demand and providing the necessary QoS per service, it becomes possible to also deploy instances of specific services of the terrestrial network, such as LTE eNodeB components as VNFs on the satellite access segment. This is the concept of satellite edge processing, which is in line with the emerging paradigm of Mo-bile Ede Computing (MEC).

The executed experiments have been performed in a single domain PoP and not in a multi-domain environment. The same experiments could be deployed in multi-PoP and multi-domain environment for demonstrating the advantages of the proposed hybrid coupling between terrestrial and satellite over a multi-domain environment, without however this extension to alter or modify the expected results beyond the ones that have been measured in the single domain experiment.

The process of creating the VPN credentials and certificates was straightforward and exactly as described in the wiki documents. Access was acquired immediately and without problems. The SoftFire Software Platform enabled the uploading of custom VNF packages and VM images on the platform. Some problems were quickly solved by the platform’s tech support and they provided example VNF descriptors and packages Metadata files.

SDN and NFV, the two main concepts investigated in this work, have different kinds of implication for satcoms. SDN is mainly intended to be implemented at the border of the satcom telecom system, possibly without any impact for the development of its core service in mid-term application, still needing to be integrated with the satcom NMS and OSS/BSS. NFV could have shorter-term applications, related to the operations and management of specific features, wherever they are implemented. For long-term, SDN could also be supported more in-depth in satcom.