In Canada, where satellite connections have long been a lifeline for rural and remote communities seeking internet access, ongoing technical glitches and frequent service outages have posed persistent challenges. The digital divide between rural and urban areas has persisted despite technological advancements. However, there is new hope on the horizon as a team of academics from the National Research Council (NRC) and the University of Waterloo employs machine learning to tackle this enduring problem.
The team’s groundbreaking solution, the Multivariate Variance-based Genetic Ensemble Learning Method, amalgamates various AI-driven techniques to identify anomalies within satellite networks before they escalate into serious disruptions. This development was revealed in a recent press release by the institutions.
Peng Hu, an adjunct professor of computer science and statistics and actuarial science at the University of Waterloo and the corresponding author of the study, emphasized the significance of this breakthrough, stating, “For remote areas in Canada and around the world, satellites are often their best option for maintaining internet access. The problem is that the operation of those satellites can be expensive and time-consuming, and issues with them can lead to populations being cut off from the rest of the world.”
To validate their new method, the researchers utilized three global data sets, including Soil Moisture Active Passive (NASA satellite monitoring soil moisture across Earth), Mars Science Laboratory rover (satellite data from the Mars rover), and Server Machine Dataset (acquired from a large internet provider). The results demonstrated that their model outperformed existing solutions in terms of accuracy, precision, and recall.
Peng Hu highlighted the growing importance of satellite network systems, stating, “Satellite network systems are going to be more and more important in the future. This research will help us to design more reliable, resilient, and secure satellite systems.”
Understanding Satellite Internet
Satellite internet relies on orbiting satellites to provide internet access to users. This technology is particularly valuable in areas without access to, or where the installation of, traditional broadband infrastructure like cable or DSL is economically unfeasible.
In the satellite internet system, data signals are transmitted between a user’s satellite dish (ground station) and a geostationary or low Earth orbit satellite. Simply put, a satellite in orbit communicates with the user’s dish, transmitting and receiving data to and from a ground station managed by the internet service provider (ISP).
It’s important to note that satellite internet often has higher latency compared to terrestrial options due to the signal’s round trip to space and back. Activities requiring real-time interaction, such as online gaming and video conferencing, can be impacted by this delay.
The development of satellite internet technology is an ongoing endeavor, with efforts directed at increasing speed, reducing latency, and expanding coverage. By extending internet connectivity to underserved and hard-to-reach areas, satellite internet plays a pivotal role in narrowing the digital divide.