Cyber Security Advantages of Optical Communications in SATCOM Networks
Kholidy, Hisham A.; Advisor
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
cybersecurity , optical communications , SATCOM networks , 5G systems , quantum key distribution
Space-based communications, whether it is ground-to-space or inter-satellite communications, have so far been primarily within the RF spectrum. With the increase in space missions and the need for larger amounts of data being sent to and from satellites, the near infrared or optical spectrum has started to become more widely used instead of RF. Higher bandwidth is not the only advantage of using optics for communications over RF, there is also an inherent security advantage as well. Currently, there is far too little enforcement of security standards for space communications networks, and the use of RF only worsens the problem due to its very large beam spread when compared to optics. This paper will seek to prove that optics is a far more superior technology to be used for space communications networks from a security standpoint as well as providing an increase in available bandwidth. These points will be proven by first introducing the technology by examining current Free Space Optics (FSO) systems and space optics systems being provided by manufacturers. Secondly, this paper will discuss the current state of space communications security, and issues space communications networks are facing using RF with the recent advancement into low-cost SmallSat operations that threaten existing space vehicles, and the lack of standard security practices within these networks. Lastly, this paper will provide evidence into why optics communications can improve the security of spaced based communications due to its lower beam spread and the ability to incorporate quantum key distribution into the communications channel.