A practical investigation of meteor-burst communications.
Melville, Stuart William.
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This study considers the meteor-burst communication (MBC) environment at three levels. At the lowest level, the trails themselves are studied and analysed. Then individual links are studied in order to determine the data throughput and wait time that might be expected at various data rates. Finally, at the top level, MBC networks are studied in order to provide information on the effects of routing strategies, topologies, and connectivity in such networks. A significant amount of theoretical work has been done in the classification of meteor trails, and the analysis of the throughput potential of the channel. At the same time the issues of wait time on MBC links, and MBC network strategies, have been largely ignored. The work presented here is based on data captured on actual monitoring links, and is intended to provide both an observational comparison to theoretical predictions in the well-researched areas, and a source of base information for the others. Chapter 1 of this thesis gives an overview of the field of meteor-burst communications. Prior work in the field is discussed, as are the advantages and disadvantages of the channel, and current application areas. Chapter 2 describes work done on the classification of observed meteor trails into distinctive 'families'. The rule-based system designed for this task is discussed as well as the eventual classification schema produced, which is far more comprehensive and consistent than previously proposed schemas. Chapter 3 deals with the throughput potential of the channel, based on the observed trails. A comparison to predicted results, both as regards fixed and adaptive data-rates, is made with some notable differences between predicted v results and observed results highlighted. The trail families with the largest contribution to the throughput capacity of the channel are identified. Chapter 4 deals with wait time in meteor-burst communications. The data rates at which wait time is minimised in the links used are found, and compared to the rates at which throughput was optimised. These are found to be very different, as indeed are the contributions of the various trail families at these rates. Chapter 5 describes a software system designed to analyse the effect of routing strategies in MBC networks, and presents initial results derived from this system. Certain features of the channel, in particular its sporadic nature, are shown to have significant effects on network performance. Chapter 6 continues the presentation of network results, specifically concentrating on the effect of topologies and connectivity within MBC networks. Chapter 7 concludes the thesis, highlighting suggested areas for further research as well as summarising the more important results presented.