Multicast-aware Power Allocation in Multiple Spot-Beam Satellite Communication Systems

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We address the problem of optimizing resource sharing and flow control in a multiple spot-beam broadband satellite system that supports both unicast and multicast flows. Satellite communication systems, with their wide-area coverage and direct access to large number of users, clearly have an inherent advantage in supporting multicast applications. In order to remain competitive against other broadband technologies, however, next generation satellite systems will be required to support both unicast and multicast flows and offer optimal sharing of system resources between these flows. We show that, in a multiple spot-beam system, a high load variation across spot-beam queues may force lower allocated session rates for active flows, and be perceived as unsatisfactory by potential users when both unicast and multicast flows are active in the system. We propose an optimization framework for balancing the spot-beam queue service rates such that the sum of the rate variances of all active multicast flows is minimized. This is achieved through the re-distribution of system power among spot-beam queues, by taking into account the load on the queues and the channel states. We conclude that it is possible to increase the average session rates of multicast flows by up to 16%, and the rates of unicast flows by up to 4% after this optimization is applied.