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Satellite Traffic Emulator

Short Description

The capability to flexibly allocate on-board resources over the service coverage is becoming a must for future broadband multibeam satellites. As such, a proper performance assessment requires modelling the geographical traffic distribution.

The Satellite Traffic Emulator provides the geographical traffic distribution over Europe considering broadband consumer users combined with maritime and aeronautical broadband traffic.

The outcomes of the Satellite Traffic Emulator can be used as input for resource management algorithms, and for evaluating the innovative solutions aiming at improving satellite link utilization, performance and user experience.


The schematic diagram of the traffic emulator is shown in Figure 1. 

Figure 1. Traffic emulator schematic diagram

We have 3 categories of input datasets will characterize the output geographical traffic distribution:

1) Population data is used to generate the traffic distribution for broadband FSS terminals. Population data has been extracted from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) population database [1]. The population data over Europe is illustrated in Figure 2.

2) Aeronautical traffic is modelled based on true historical flight records (geographical position and time-stamp) acquired from ADSBexchange [2]. An example of the spatial distribution of aeronautical traffic is depicted in Figure 3.

3) Maritime traffic is modelled based on real vessel records (geographical position and time-stamp) from a vessel tracking dataset acquired from VesselFinder [3], which gathers Automatic Identification System (AIS) data. An example of cruise ships location is provided in Figure 4. 


Figure 2. Population density map

Figure 3. Flights flying over Europe at 12 PM.

Figure 4. Cruise ships at 8 AM.

A graphical example of the outcome of the Satellite Traffic Emulator is provided in Figure 5, where we show a snap-shot of the combination of all types of traffic demands.

Figure 5. Traffic emulator output at time 4 AM

Sample Results

The heterogeneous traffic demand across a beam pattern of 71 beams is depicted in Figure 6, it can be readily noticed that the traffic type and load are significantly different from one beam to another. 


Figure 6. The percentages of the heterogeneous traffic demand across the 71 beams



[1] NASA, "NASA, Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)," [Online]. Available:
[2] "ADS-B Exchange - World's largest co-op of unfiltered flight data," [Online]. Available:
[3] "AIS Ship Tracking of Marine Traffic," [Online]. Available:



Research Team

• Dr. Symeon Chatzinotas (SnT)
• Dr. Eva Lagunas (SnT)
• Dr. Hayder Al-Hraishawi
• Dr. Steven Kisseleff
• Dr. Mirza Kibria
• Dr. Danilo Spano
• Dr. Nicola Maturo (SnT)
• Dr. Vahid Joroughi (SnT)

Relevant Links


Dr. Eva Lagunas
Dr. Symeon Chatzinotas