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Rethinking networking for an "Internet from space” with Ankit Singla from ETH

Event Details

Thursday, February 4, 2021
11 a.m.

Abstract: Upstart space companies are building massive constellations of low-flying satellites to provide Internet service. These developments comprise "one giant leap" in Internet infrastructure, promising global coverage and lower latency. However, fully exploiting the potential of such satellite constellations requires tackling their inherent challenges: thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites travel at high velocity relative to each other, and relative to terrestrial ground stations. The resulting highly-dynamic connectivity is at odds with the Internet's design primitives, which assume a largely static core infrastructure. Virtually every aspect of Internet design --- physical interconnection, routing, congestion control, and application behavior --- will need substantial rethinking to integrate this new building block.

This talk will focus on one such problem, that of deciding which satellites should be connected to which others to form a performant network. I will draw out why traditional tools for network design are ill-suited here, and show how a simple, novel approach can improve network throughput by 2x compared to the standard method for interconnecting satellites. Lastly, I will highlight several open questions, and discuss our ongoing work on building tools to explore them.

Bio:  Ankit Singla is an assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zürich. He holds a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ankit works on the design and analysis of large-scale networks like data center networks and the Internet. His work has received the Best Paper Award at IMC 2020, Best Dataset Awards at PAM 2017 and 2020, and the IRTF's Applied Networking Research Prize for 2020. He is also the recipient of a 2018 Google Faculty Research Award.