Julian Huwyler, James Pavur, Giorgio Tresoldi, Martin Strohmeier

Presenter: Martin Strohmeier

Although new technologies are on the rise, traditional Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO)-based satellite internet is still a crucial piece of critical communications infrastructure and used by many, for example in the maritime sector. Previous work found that much of the traffic over GEO links is unencrypted, as there is a lack of secure, yet performant ways to communicate for end users. A new protocol named QPEP, a hybrid between a traditional Performance Enhancing Proxy and a VPN, aims to solve this issue but has only been tested in simulations.

This work presents a newly developed testbed, which is used to collect real-world results for QPEP. Two different satellite links, one using Ka-band, the other Ku-band, were analyzed. In the Ka band, we find that QPEP offers on average 80% more goodput compared to OpenVPN. The page load time is reduced on average by 17% and the 95th percentile is reduced by 25% compared to OpenVPN. Although the average page load time of QPEP is higher compared to the unencrypted, proprietary PEP of the provider, it still manages to have the same 95 percentile. Overall, we find that the satellite environment is often a black box that is difficult to evaluate scientifically. However, we show that in typical settings QPEP can prove its benefits in the real-world and further investigations are promising.

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