Qualification of the ARCA SATCOM solution

Located at the CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the French Space Agency) in Toulouse, CESARS serves as the support and expertise center for satellite telecommunications applications. Its role is to assist businesses and public entities interested in exploring and testing satellite telecommunications solutions.

As part of studies conducted at CNES, CYSEC qualified its ARCA SATCOM solution on different satellite links in August and November 2023. On LEO, the solution was tested on Starlink and OneWeb Kymeta links and on GEO, the solution was tested on Athena-Fidus, Thuraya and Eutelsat Konnect links.

For each test bench, three types of experiments were conducted:

  •  Comparative study and performance measurement between an unencrypted signal and the use of ARCA SATCOM, as well as performance measurement between a signal encrypted by an open-source VPN and ARCA SATCOM.
  •  Demonstration that the transmitted signal is properly encrypted through network flow controls on Wireshark.
  •  Implementation of application scenarios, including VoIP, video, or file transfer. The applications used for these tests include GMail, Youtube, Netflix, Google Meet, and Tixeo.

The version of ARCA SATCOM software utilized, supports both UDP and TCP for GEO links. The conclusion was overwhelmingly positive, as the solution demonstrated exceptional performance across three tests on various LEO and GEO satellite links. The two addressed aspects of the solution—link encryption and throughput acceleration—were successfully achieved.

Link encryption was assessed and confirmed through Wireshark scans. Throughput acceleration is a notable improvement compared to VPN solutions applied to space communications, as evidenced by the significant loss of throughput on three links with the use of OpenVPN. ARCA Satcom not only prevents a loss of more than 15% of the original throughput but also enhances the reference throughput in certain cases, as demonstrated on the Thuraya link.

The second testing session conducted by the CYSEC team at CNES validated and certified the proper functioning of ARCA SATCOM across various common applications, such as file transfer, video, and VoIP. A forthcoming testing session will evaluate the solution’s quality and performance on these validated applications.

The different application tests were conducted without any noticeable latency and demonstrate the capability of using ARCA SATCOM on standard and frequent internet resources. These include video streaming applications like YouTube (GEO, LEO), teleconferencing tools such as Google Meet (GEO, LEO), and Tixeo (LEO). Similar behavior can be envisioned for competing applications.