Context-aware hybrid satellite-terrestrial broadband access

One of the key performance targets on the European Commission’s Digital Agenda is to provide at least 30 Mbit/s broadband coverage to all European households by 2020. The deployment of existing terrestrial technologies will not be able to satisfy the requirements in the most difficult-to-serve locations, either due to a lack of coverage in areas where the revenue potential for terrestrial service providers is too low, or due to technological limitations that diminish the available throughput in rural environments. In this paper we investigate a hybrid broadband system combining satellite and terrestrial access networks. The system design and the key building blocks of the intelligent routing entities (referred to as intelligent gateways) are presented. To justify the hybrid broadband system’s performance subjectively, lab trials have been performed with an integrated multiple access network emulator and a variety of typical multimedia applications that have varying requirements. The results of the lab trials suggest that the Quality of Experience is consistently improved thanks to the utilisation of intelligent gateway devices, when compared to using a single access network at a time.