Satellite Rural Telephone Network Design: A Methodology for Performance Optimization
Rural telephony has historically been a recurring subject of concern for most large developing countries. It is generally considered that rural telephone users do not generate the same level of telephone traffic and, thus, revenue as urban users, lowering the incentives to invest in rural telecommunications. The financial implications of wiring a vast area for low telephone traffic causes most telephone service providers to ignore or delay offering telephone service to those regions. Still, it is known that telecommunications are essential to the economic development of a region, and that traffic increases rapidly as soon as the service is available.
A satellite-based telephone network can provide efficient long distance telephone service to remote rural communities at a lower cost than land-based wired networks in most cases. Mobile satellite systems already provide this service, but are limited in capacity and charge high per- minute fees for the satellite link. Small earth stations and GEO satellites can provide this service more efficiently and at lower cost.
A methodology to optimize the network performance has been developed. A set of economic models to evaluate different combinations of network topologies and multiple access techniques have been implemented, and a technical-economic assessment has been performed for the different technologies under different traffic scenarios. Traffic intensity, network size and per-minute user costs have been optimized to achieve the network's economic break-even point under different conditions and constraints. The general behavior of fixed-assignment Single Channel per Carrier SCPC), fixed-assignment Multiple Channel per Carrier (MCPC) and demand-assignment SCPC star networks, as well as demand-assignment SCPC mesh networks has been analyzed. Important parameters have been identified in order to improve the process of effective and cost-efficient satellite rural telephone network design.