Application of the IEEE 802.11 Protocol to Inter-Satellite Communications
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This paper is concerned with the application of the terrestrial wireless standard IEEE 802.11 for inter-satellite communication in autonomous distributed spacecraft constellations and formations. In low-altitude orbital multi-satellite communication systems the network topology is predictable and periodic but signals suffer variable propagation delays, low signal-to-noise ratios, and large Doppler shifts. Therefore it is investigated how changes of orbital parameters influence the use of terrestrial wireless standards for inter-satellite links in space. Optimization approaches such as tuning of the physical layer parameters and enhancing the data link layer are presented. The integration of smart antennas with the Medium Access Control protocol is also considered aiming at increasing the capacity and throughput while minimizing interference and collision in close proximity links. Finally, simulation results are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approaches for satellite formations.
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