In this paper we present a model to study the end-to-end delay performance of a satellite-ATM network. We describe a satellite-ATM network architecture. The architecture presents a trade-off between the on-board switching/processing features and the complexity of the satellite communication systems. The end-to-end delay of a connection passing through a satellite constellation consists of the transmission delay, the uplink and downlink ground terminal-satellite propagation delay, the intersatellite link delays, the on-board switching, processing and buffering delays. In a broadband satellite network, the propagation and the buffering delays have the most impact on the overall delay. We present an analysis of the propagation and buffering delay components for GEO and LEO systems. We model LEO constellations as satellites evenly spaced in circular orbits around the earth. A simple routing algorithm for LEO systems calculates locally optimal paths for the end-to-end connection. This is used to calculate the end-to-end propagation delays for LEO networks. We present a simulation model to calculate the buffering delay for TCP/IP traffic over ATM ABR and UBR service categories. We apply this model to calculate total end-to-end delays for TCP/IP over satellite-ATM networks.
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