Research Information
Prof. Godred Fairhurst

About Me

I hold a Chair in the School of Engineering within the College of Physical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, UK.

I participate in the teaching activities of the School, in taught courses, laboratory activities and undergraduate and postgraduate project supervision. Over the years, I have presented various undergraduate teaching courses (these include a popular web-based Communications Engineering course). I also teach on Internet Engineering and Digital Video Broadcast, and the DMX control protocol. I sometimes deliver a series of professional lectures at the University of York on small terminal satellite communications.

I conduct my research in in Internet Engineering within the Electronics Research Group (a part of the School's Communication and Imaging Research Group), where I specialise in transport, protocol design, satellite broadband and multicast transmission. I am a member of the IETF Transport Directiorate.

X.25 and ATM and all that...

My research has always favoured a blend of simulation and practical investigation. My first research project concerned simulation of packet satellite links in the early days of X.25, while exploring actual performance using X-band satellite systems. There was still much to be defined, and packet congestion was hardley understood. I worked for years (!) on my own implementation of X.25 and added many features to the link protocols to improve performance over a satellite link, including the HDLC Multi-SREJ protocol. For a while, I worked on a number of projects relating to IP/ATM, before moving focus to TCP/IP and Internet Engineering.

TCP/IP Networking over Satellite

I worked on the first IP-based satellite system (where I analysed and developed benchmarking IP router software for the European Space Agency's CODE VSAT). I pioneered early work on IP over Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) and was part of a team that organised the first IPv6 over DVB demonstration to the European Commission. Since 2004, my research group has been a member of the prestigious European Satellite Network of Excellence (SatNEx), which brings together 24 leading European research establishments in satellite communications,. From the roof of our labs we have operated a wide range of small satellite terminals- primarily for IP network benchmarking and pilot demonstrations. We have operated a number of two-way satellite terminals including a number of very early prototype Ka-Band terminals, and currently maintain a selection of DVB-based satellite terminals. I contribute to the definition of internet services and architecture for DVB-RCS and have contributed to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). I am a coauthor of the ULE and GSE link specifications and was the Chair the IETF Working Group Chair for IPDVB (IPv4 & IPv6 over broadcast networks).

Internet Engineering and Internet Transport

I implemented IP in the XNet simulation environment, using the classic object oriented programming language, SIMULA, to explore protcol interactions at multiple layers. I have developed transport mechansims and investigated QoS-based IP networks using what has come to be known as Diffserv. More recently projects have developed UDP-Lite, DCCP, and worked on protocol architectures for the future internet. The group has conducted a range of projects working with IP multicast transport, multicast routing and group membership protocols, and includes practical experience in deployment of IP multicast, where it has provided training for the UK academic community. It was also one of the early adopters of http-based web servers, with more recent research developing new models for simulating the impact of web traffic on flows that share a constrained bottleneck.

I have been an invited speaker at commercial and research meetings on TCP/IP performance and broadband networking, participating in the UK JANET networking community.


Current Research Priorities

My current research interests include:


Standards Activities

I participate in several standards processes, and strongly advocate open discussion in the development of communications standards. I have contributed to the European Telecoms Standards Institute (ETSI) Broadband Satellite Multimedia working group (of TC-SES), and Digital Video Broadcast (published by DVB and ETSI).

I am an active participant in the specification and engineering of internet standards and a member of the Internet Society (ISOC). My research contributed to defining new transport mechanisms, and in leveraging techniques such as Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) and QuickStart. I am a member of the transport directorate and currently chairing the Transport and Services Working Group (TSVWG), responsible for oversight of IETF transport protocols and their interaction with the Internet. I was a Working Group Chair for the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol, DCCP, a transport designed for multimedia transport that prefers timeliness over the need for reliability offered by TCP, e.g. interactive and streaming multimedia applications. I was a co-author of the UDP-Lite specification for multimedia over radio links. The research group has been a significant contributor to the DCCP and UDP-Lite Linux stacks, and continue to work on practical implementation of protocols and contribute code to the Linux community for these transports. I also chaired the IETF IPDVB working group, developing Internet encapsulation protocols and have a chaired a range of other IETF meetings.

I have (and do) actively contributed to and follow various IETF Working Groups, including:

I was a member of the Broadband Satellite Multimedia (BSM) WG (TC-SES, ETSI) until 2010. From 2009, I have participated on behalf of ESA in TM-RCS, defining RCS-2, with a focus on IP-based protocols for the Higher Layers (satellite) specification.

Published Standards

Standards Work in Progress


Brief CV

The University of Aberdeen (UoA) is Scotland's third oldest and is the fifth oldest in the UK.  The Electronics Research Group (ERG) operates as a part of the School of Engineering. It has a proven research capability in the development of new protocols, implementation of link-specific enhancements, testing and the evaluation of network performance, especially over challenging Internet paths. Research has always favoured a blend of simulation and practical investigation, ranging from architectural design, to simulation of protocol techniques, kernel implementation and evaluation using Internet tesbeds. It works closely with industry including EADS Astrium, Thales, Inmarsat, and Avanti Communications.

The group pioneered IP video in MediCAL, (JISC) and SUNRISE (ESA), and maintains an active interest in rate-adaptive streaming. It has developed new techniques for rural broadband via satellite in DOMINO 2 (ESA), SatNEx (EC), SATSIX (EC) and  the DE dot.rural Hub (RCUK). Projects funded by ESA have developed new Internet encapsulations for DVB transmission and standardised these via the IETF and DVB. The group was an early adopter of http-based web servers, with more recent research focusing on the impact of web traffic on other flows. A range of projects (e.g. GEOCAST (EC) and Secure Scalable Reliable Multicast (EPSRC)) worked on IP multicast transport, routing and group membership, with practical experience in deployment, and training for the UK academic community. Projects have evaluated mechanisms for TCP and Diffserv. The group has been a significant contributor to the DCCP and UDP-Lite Linux stacks and their standardisation.

Prof. G FAIRHURST BSc (Dunelm) PhD (Aberdeen) is currently a Professor in Communications Engineering in the School of Engineering, UoA. He is an active participant in the engineering of Internet standards and a member of the transport directorate. He currently chairs the Transport and Services Working Group (TSVWG), responsible for oversight of IETF transport protocols and their interaction with the Internet. He was a chair for the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol, DCCP, a transport designed for multimedia transport that prefers timeliness over the need for reliability offered by TCP, e.g. interactive and streaming multimedia applications. He was a coauthor of the UDP-Lite specification for multimedia over radio links. He chaired the IETF IPDVB WG, developing Internet encapsulation protocols and have a chaired a range of other IETF meetings.


Useless Information

For a while I used a 128K Mac, and later developed a long-lasting and very personal relationship with the Apple Macintosh. I also have a soft spot for the PDP-8, particularly the 8F, which was an early RISC processor (!!!) and had a real front panel where you see into it's little world. I like steam railways (but couldn't tell you a single locomotive number - There's a difference between railways and train spotting!). I like eating cheese fondu, and quite a few other things.


Useful Information

Details of Lecture Slides and Information

IP over DVB Mailing List (IETF)

IP Multicast

Contact Information.

Where I am.


A Sample List of my Publications (This may be somewhat out of date.)

Gorry Fairhurst - Modified:11/2011 ERG home page