ACM SIGCOMM 2021, virtually (online)

ACM SIGCOMM 2021 Tutorial: Integrated Satellite-Terrestrial Network (ISTN)

Tutorial Program

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  • Monday, August 23th 10:00-13:20 (UTC-4, New York), 16:00-19:20 (UTC+2, Paris)

  • 10:00 am - 10:45 pm Session I

  • 10:00 am - 10:20 am

    Integrated satellite-terrestrial networks: Historical evolution, architecture, use cases, and state-of-the-arts

  • 10:20 am - 10:45 am

    Hands-on labs: A first look at satellite-terrestrial networks with StarPerf

  • 10:45 am - 10:55 am Coffee/tea Break

  • 10:55 am - 12:10 pm Session II

  • 10:55 am - 11:10 am

    Research challenges in integrated satellite-terrestrial networks

  • 11:10 am - 12:10 pm

    Recent advances and future directions on integrated satellite-terrestrial networks

  • 12:10 pm - 12:20 pm Coffee/tea Break

  • 12:20 pm - 13:20 pm Session III

  • 12:20 pm - 12:50 pm

    Testbeds and open data access for integrated satellite-terrestrial networks

  • 12:50 pm - 13:10 pm

    Experiences: How to push satellite network standards at CCSDS, IETF, and ITU?

  • 13:10 pm - 13:20 pm

    Summary and wrap-up

Call For Participation

The future Internet is up in the sky. Since 2019, we have witnessed a rocket-fast deployment of the satellite mega-constellations for inter-networking in space, such as SpaceX Starlink, Amazon Kuiper, OneWeb, HongYun, to name a few. Such satellite networks promise competitive network capacity and latency to terrestrial networks, and complement them to offer global Internet coverage to users that were not easily reachable (e.g., rural areas, aircraft, and ocean).

This half-day lecture tutorial will provide a systematic overview of the integrated satellite-terrestrial networks' architecture, protocol, testbed, and standardization. We will review the state-of-the-art satellite networks and explain why it is necessary to integrate them with terrestrial networks. Then we will classify and enumerate the research challenges for integrated satellite-terrestrial networks. We next go through the recent research progress to address these challenges, including (but not limited to) physical-layer mega-constellation design, link-layer communications, network layer addressing/routing design, transport-layer deterministic networking, application-layer content delivery in space, and security across all layers. To facilitate the community on the experimentation and validation, we will demonstrate how to characterize the network behaviors with operational data-driven satellite-terrestrial network testbed we build based on CERNET 2/6IX and CNGI networks. We will also share our experiences of pushing forward the satellite network standards at CCSDS, IETF, and ITU with global mobile communication carriers and satellite operators. We wish this tutorial could call for the community's attention and stimulate more research for the integrated satellite-terrestrial networks.


A rough outline follows:

  • Session I: overview of integrated satellite-terrestrial networks

    • Is the future Internet up in the sky?
    • New use cases: earth observation, space cloud, in-orbit computing, and many more
    • Design space analysis and state-of-the-arts
    • Industrial standardizations: TCP/IP, 3GPP, CCSDS, and DTN
    • Hands-on labs: A first look at satellite-terrestrial networks with StarPerf
  • Session II: research on integrated satellite-terrestrial networks

    • Research challenges and roadmap
    • Constellation, topology, and network architecture
    • Network layer: addressing and routing
    • Transport layer: congestion control and deterministic networking
    • Application layer: satellite CDN, earth observation, in-orbit computing, and others
    • Security: Authentication, path validation, and DDoS
  • Session III: testbeds, open data access, and standardizations

    • StarPerf: Characterizing performance for emerging mega-constellations
    • Data-driven, hardware-in-the-loop network protocol validation testbed
    • Experiences: How to push satellite-terrestrial network standards at CCSDS, IETF, and ITU?

Audience Expectations and Prerequisites

The intended audiences include researchers, engineers, and students interested in satellite networks and integrated satellite-terrestrial networks. Anyone with basic understanding of satellite networking can participate in this tutorial.


  • Hewu Li

    Tsinghua University

    • Bio:

      Dr. Hewu Li received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Tsinghua University in 2001 and 2004, respectively. He is currently an associate professor and assistant to the Dean of the Institute for Network Sciences and Cyberspace at Tsinghua University. He is the director of the Wireless and Mobile Network Technology research laboratory, director of the Network application support research center, wireless chairman of the Mobile Working Group in 2009 AsiaFI (Asia Future Internet), deputy director of the executive office of Joint Laboratory of Tsinghua University and China Telecom. His research interests include mobile wireless network architecture, hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks, testbed, broadband wireless access technology, and mobility architecture in next-generation networks. He has successively undertaken more than 20 major national projects on hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks in China. He has published more than 100 papers and applied for over 40 national invention patents.

  • Yuanjie Li

    Tsinghua University

    • Bio:

      Dr. Yuanjie Li is an assistant professor at the Institute for Network Sciences and Cyberspace at Tsinghua University. He was a researcher at Hewlett Packard Labs from 2018 to 2020, and the co-founder of MobIQ Technologies from 2017 to 2018. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA in 2017, and B.E. in Electronic Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2012. His research interests are network systems and security, with a recent focus on satellite networking, mobile networking, intelligent wireless edge, and Internet-of-Things (IoT). He has published more than 30 papers at top-tier conferences such as SIGCOMM, MobiCom, NSDI, SIGMETRICS, INFOCOM, and CCS. He is a recipient of ACM MobiCom’17 and MobiCom'16 Best Community Paper Awards, and UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship in 2016. His work has resulted in an open-source community tool (MobileInsight), which has been used by 300+ universities and companies since its release in 2016.

  • Jun Liu

    Tsinghua University

    • Bio:

      Dr. Jun Liu received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Northeastern University, Shenyang, China, in 2007 and 2011, respectively. She worked as a lecturer with college of information science and engineering from 2011-2016 in Northeastern University. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow from 2016 -2018 in CECA Dept. at Peking University. She is currently an assistant professor at Institute for Network Sciences and Cyberspace, Tsinghua University. Her research interests focus on networking and security in hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks. She has published more than 40 scientific papers, with MobiCom2017 Best Community Paper Award and NaNA2018 Best Paper Award. She has served as an associate or guest editors for Frontiers in Computer Science journals and TPC Member, or Track co-chair for many IEEE conferences. She has served as reviewers for IEEE TWC, IEEE TCCN, IEEE SPAWC and IEEE WCL, JNCA journals. She cooperates with China Mobile, China Telecom, Huawei and CASC to make progress on hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks standard in ITU, IETF and CCSDS.

  • Zeqi Lai

    Tsinghua University

    • Bio:

      Dr. Zeqi Lai is an assistant researcher at the Institute for Network Sciences and Cyberspace at Tsinghua University. Before joining Tsinghua University, he was a senior researcher at Tencent Media Lab from 2018 to 2019 and developed the network protocols and congestion control algorithms for VooV, a large-scale commercial videoconferencing application. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Tsinghua University in 2018 and B.E. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2013. He was a visiting scholar in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University from 2016 to 2017. His research interests include computer networking, wireless and mobile computing, video streaming, integrated satellite, and terrestrial networks. His works are published at conferences or journals such as ACM MobiCom, IEEE INFOCOM, IEEE ToN, and IEEE TMC.


[1] Hewu Li, Jun Liu, Liang Geng, Guangpeng Li, Bin Da. New IP based Hybrid satellite-terrestrial networking, ITU SG13, Nov 29, 2019

[2] Hewu Li, Jun Liu, Guangpeng Li. Hybrid satellite-terrestrial networking Signaling and Protocols in New IP Networking, ITU SG11, Dec 1, 2019

[3] Hewu Li, Qian Wu, Jianping Wu, Qi Zhang, Jiang Zhou, Jun Liu. Trusted Multipath-TCP (MPTCP) extension. draft-hewu-mptcp-trust-00, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF106), October 29, 2019

[4] Qian Wu, Hewu Li, Qi Zhang, Jun Liu. Predictable Multipath TCP (MPTCP) extension. draft-qian-mptcp-predict-00, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF106), November 1, 2019

[5] Zengyin Yang, Hewu Li, Qian Wu, Jianping Wu, Jun Liu. “Emulation platform for inter-domain protocols validation of hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks”. Journal on Communications, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 1-12, May 25, 2019

[6] Zengyin Yang, Qian Wu, Hewu Li, Jianping Wu. CRO-SS: A Route Oscillation Suppression Scheme for IP-based Satellite Network. IEEE Access, v 7, p 44721-44733, 2019

[7] Chunlei Li, Qian Wu, Hewu Li, Jiang Zhou. SDN-Ti: A General Solution Based on SDN to Attacker Traceback and Identification in IPv6 Networks. IEEE ICC 2019

[8] Jiang Zhuo, Qian Wu, Hewu Li, Jianping Wu. Survey on Internet End-to-end Multipath Transfer Research with Cross-layer Optimization. Journal of Software, 30(2):302−322, 2019

[9] Boyang Wu, Hewu Li, Qian Wu. Extending Authentication Mechanism to Cooperate with Accountable Address Assignment. IEEE WCNC 2019

[10] Xinmu Wang, Hewu Li, Qian Wu. Optimizing Adaptive Coding and Modulation for Satellite Network with ML-based CSI Prediction. IEEE WCNC 2019

[11] Pinchang Zhang, Jun Liu, Yulong Shen, Hewu Li, Xiaohong Jiang, “Lightweight Tag-Based PHY-Layer Authentication for IoT Devices in Smart Cities” IEEE Internet of Things Journal, Volume 7, Issue 5, May 2020, pp. 3977 – 3990

[12] Lai, Zeqi, Hewu Li, and Jihao Li. "StarPerf: Characterizing Network Performance for Emerging Mega-Constellations." In 2020 IEEE 28th International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP), pp. 1-11. IEEE, 2020.

[13] Yuanjie Li, Hewu Li, Lixin Liu, Wei Liu, Jiayi Liu, Jianping Wu, Qian Wu, Jun Liu, Zeqi Lai, Guojie Fan, “Fractal Rosette: A Stable Space-Ground Network Structure in Mega-constellation”, arXiv preprint arXiv:2105.05560

[14] Yuanjie Li, Chunyi Peng, Zhehui Zhang, Zhaowei Tan, Haotian Deng, Jinghao Zhao, Qianru Li, Yunqi Guo, Kai Ling, Boyan Ding, Hewu Li, Songwu Lu, “Experience: A Five-Year Retrospective of MobileInsight”, to appear at ACM MobiCom 2021

[15] Yuanjie Li, Qianru Li, Zhehui Zhang, Ghufran Baig, Lili Qiu, Songwu Lu, “Beyond 5G: Reliable Extreme Mobility Management”, ACM SIGCOMM 2020