Two scaling problems face the Internet today. First, it will be years before terrestrial networks are able to provide adequate bandwidth uniformly around the world, given the explosive growth in Internet bandwidth demand and the amount of the world that is still unwired. Second, the traffic distribution is not uniform worldwide: Clients in all countries of the world access content that today is chiefly produced in a few regions of the world (e.g., North America). A new generation of Internet access built around geosynchronous satellites can provide immediate relief. The satellite system can improve service to bandwidth-starved regions of the globe where terrestrial networks are insufficient and supplement terrestrial networks elsewhere. This new generation of satellite system manages a set of satellite links using intelligent controls at the link endpoints. The intelligence uses feedback obtained from monitoring end-user behavior to adapt the use of resources. Mechanisms controlled include caching, dynamic construction of push channels, use of multicast, and scheduling of satellite bandwidth. This paper discusses the key issues of using intelligence to control satellite links, and then presents as a case study the architecture of a specific system: the Internet Delivery System, which uses INTELSAT’s satellite fleet to create Internet connections that act as wormholes between points on the globe.
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