75493 - Protocols And Architectures For Space Networks M

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Carlo Caini
  • Credits: 4
  • SSD: ING-INF/03
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Computer Engineering (cod. 5826)

    Also valid for Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Telecommunications Engineering (cod. 9205)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students know the foundamentals of architecture and protocols for sapce networking. In particular, they gain a deep knowledge of DTN architecture and Bundle Protocol, as defined by RFC4838 and RFC 5050, when applied to space communications (GEO & LEO satellites, Interplanetary Internet). They are also able to set up testbeds and cary out experiments with the two most important DTN BP implementations, DTN2 and ION.

Course contents

Challenged networks
Definition of “challenged networks”. Challenges: long delays, significant losses, intermittent connectivity, network partitioning. Examples: Interplanetary Internet, satelllite networks (GEO and LEO), emergency networks, underwater networks, communications in areas not covered by ordinary TLC networks (extreme environemnts), tactical networks, etc.
The DTN architecture
Description of the DTN architecture (RFC 4838).
The Bundle Protocol
Description of the Bundle Protocol (RFC 5050 and 9171). Lab activities: use of Unibo-BP, DTN2 and ION (NASA JPL) bundle protocol implementations.
Application of the DTN architecture to the satellite networks
Characteristics of satellite networks based on Geostationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constallations. Lab activities: example of application of the DTN architecture to GEO and LEO systems.
Application of the DTN architecture to Interplanetary Internet
Characteristics of Interplanetary networks. The LTP protocol. Lab activities: examples of application of the DTN architecture to IPN systems.


IETF RFC 4838 e RFC 9171. A few technical papers selected by the Professor. A few presentations by the Professor or by other DTN experts.

Teaching methods

Lessons (50%) and lab activities (50%, mainly on the students'PCs).

All students are required to attend Modules 1 and 2 on safety rules in teaching environments, available at the following link:


Assessment methods

Written test (open questions or quizzes) followed by a compulsory verification (on student's or professor's PC) of student's ability in carrying out the lab activities seen during the course. This exam has a binary result (success/failure). Answers in Italian or French are allowed under students' request.

Exams in January, February, June-July (3) and September.

Teaching tools

Lab activities will be based on the use of Virtualbricks (virtual testbeds manager). This program (Linux only), preconfigured virtual testbeds and disk images are open sofware and can be downloaded from:

Office hours

See the website of Carlo Caini


Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.