Edge Computing Gives Wings to Satellite Communication in Low Earth Orbit

Edge Computing Gives Wings to Satellite Communication in Low Earth Orbit

Credit: DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

Two research teams, one led by Prof. Jeongho Kwak from DGIST Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (Chairman Kuk Yang) and the other by Prof. Jihwan Choi from KAIST Aerospace Engineering Department (Chairman Kwang Hyung Lee ), have developed novel edge computing offloading and network slicing techniques that can be used in next-generation low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network systems.

A LEO satellite network provides stable Internet services using satellites that orbit between 300 and 1,500 km from the Earth. Unlike base stations built on the ground, to and from which radio waves are sometimes obstructed by mountains or buildings, LEO satellites can be used to build communication networks in places where base stations are difficult to reach. deploy due to low population density when launching the satellites into orbit. Therefore, LEO satellite networks have gained attention as next-generation satellite communication systems capable of rapidly providing communication services to more diverse regions.

Edge computing differs from cloud computing in that data is processed in each device in a distributed fashion. Since the data is processed and the computational results are applied to the edge where the data is collected, congestion in the data center can be alleviated.

Although studies of edge computing in existing terrestrial networks have been actively conducted, a different approach is needed to apply edge computing to LEO satellites. This is because all the satellite components of the core networks, including the LEO satellite networks, are connected wirelessly and the satellites orbit the Earth at very high speed. In addition, satellites have less power and computing power than terrestrial networks. Therefore, customized solutions are needed for new areas that have not been covered by terrestrial networks.

The research teams of Professor Jeongho Kwak and Professor Jihwan Choi have proposed a network slicing technique that exploits the distribution and motion characteristics of LEO satellites and the characteristics of wireless channel environments in a scenario with multiple virtualized services. At the same time, they also proposed a code and data offloading technique for satellite-based edge computing.

The edge computation and slicing techniques developed for LEO satellites in this research are important because they advance national satellite network technology. However, in South Korea, this technology is still in its infancy compared to overseas countries, where LEO satellite internet services such as Elon Musk’s Starlink are marketed.

Professor Jeongho Kwak from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at DGIST said: “This research analyzed the effect of network slicing and code/data offload ratio based on the changing environment of the LEO satellite. ” He added, “Our goal is to provide a blueprint for new applications for LEO satellites in the 6G era in the future.”

The research results were published in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal on August 1, 2022.

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More information:
Taeyeoun Kim et al, Satellite Edge Computing Architecture and Network Slice Planning for IoT Support, IEEE Internet of Things Journal (2021). DOI: 10.1109/JIOT.2021.3132171

Provided by DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

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