Digital Advanced Rural Testbed

DART is an experimental advanced network using satellite broadband. This facilitates experimentation with new business models, applications and digital content to remote and rural communities. DART is one of five Network Service Demonstrators funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

The TSB has identified a set of technology enablers that may be introduced in next generation networks. DART will implement four of these enablers, which will be integrated in the next generation broadband system provided using the HYLAS 1 satellite operated by Avanti.

Delivery of Next Generation Access (NGA) services to the “final third” of the UK population is recognised as a serious technical and financial challenge and one faced by countries worldwide.Recent consultations on NGA provided by organisations such as the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG) and trade association Intellect have affirmed that a mix of fibre, satellite wireless and terrestrial wireless technologies will need to be used to deliver NGA at an affordable cost.

The Digital Advanced Rural Testbed (DART) will provide an advanced infrastructure representative of the access technologies that will play a significant future role in serving rural communities using a mix of satellite, terrestrial wireless and community fibre schemes.The testbed provides advanced features expected of next generation broadband networks: (1) Multicasting and caching of content e.g. video.(2) Dynamic variation of Quality of Service (QoS) and bandwidth, and (3) Content detection and routing. Caching is particularly important to support users demand for high bandwidth services and increasing consumption of video.Caching therefore has to be part of future networks and DART will provide extremely effective caching solutions based on satellite multicast, high speed local networks and intelligent services.These features and the anticipated business models are relevant to both rural applications as well as more widely in the Future Internet (FI), particularly with regard to video caching at the edge of networks and hybridisation of different access technologies.

This project builds on other initiatives including Avanti’s Highly Adaptable Broadband Satellite (HYLAS 1) which flies UK technology, and the EPSRC supported by the University of Aberdeen (UoA) Digital Hub.

On this website you can also find a brochure for the DART platform and the July 2013 review slide deck.

The research described here is supported by the award made by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub; award reference: EP/G066051/1.