Network Simulations and Configuration for Delay-Tolerant Space Networks

Abstract

Terrestrial computer networks such as the Internet perform very well due to several assumptions we can make about our system. We can typically assume that the data flow is continuous and bidirectional with relatively small round trip times with low error rates. However, these assumptions cannot be made when dealing with interplanetary networks. We expect intermittent connectivity with higher error rates and longer delays. The Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) architecture is one solution that uses the principle of store and forward, a technique where information is held at intermediate network nodes before being transmitted at a later time. The Interplanetary Overlay Network (ION) is an implementation of the DTN architecture and is the primary software tool used at JPL. While ION is a powerful tool, it requires some effort to configure. We aimed to make it more accessible and intuitive to use by creating a graphical user interface for users to easily design their own DTN network. With this tool, we allow for quicker system simulations of various ION setups. This also eases the setup for other locations to test ION and potentially connect to the Deep Space Network for communication.

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