Professor Godred Fairhurst

Professor Godred Fairhurst

Personal Professor


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272201
fax +44 1224 27 2497 (FAO: Fairhurst)
The University of Aberdeen S026, Fraser Noble Building (top floor, East Wing)
Web Links
ERG Pages


Gorry Fairhurst received his first degree in Applied Physics and Electronics from the University of Durham, UK, and a PhD in Communications Engineering from the University of Aberdeen, UK. He is currently a Professor in Communications at the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, where he coordinates the research activities of the School's Research Groups. He is a member of the Communication and Imaging Research Group.

He is the named author of more than 100 published papers, he is a contributor to IETF RFCs. He continues to be an active member of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) where he contributes to the Transport and Services (TSV) Area, where he chairs the DCCP working group and chaired the TANA activity. He is also active in other IETF areas,and  chairs the ipdvb Working Group. He participates in ETSI standardisation, is a co-leader of the Future Internet working group in the EC ISI European Technology Platform.


Research Interests

The Electronics Group (ERG) in the School of Engineering at theUniversity of Aberdeen (UoA) is a part of the Communications and Optical Engineering Research Group. In this subject he has a long-standing reputation of work in IPv4 and IPv6, especially over challenging links. The Communications and Imaging Research Group has a proven research capability in the development of new protocols, implementation of link-specific enhancements, testing and the assessment of network performance.

Current work includes IP transport protocols for Voice-over-IP (VoIP),  Internet Television (IPTV), TCP evolution and the binding between transport and services. Research includes implementation (in Linux), Standards developments and research work studying the increase in the heterogeneity of IP networks, and the challenges in bringing support for a range of wireless links with significantly different characteristics. This work is linked to standardisation in the IETF.

He has had a long-running activity in multicast deployment (for IPv4 and IPv6), working with projects on routing and multicast transport. Current projects include mobility interactions with multicast (funded partly by Inmarsat and partly by the University of Aberdeen) and the cross-layer enhancement for multicast file delivery (currently funded by EPSRC and joint with University of Surrey).

Work in satellite communications has focussed on the IP interface, with work on the GSE specification, IPv6 over satellite, transport protocol optimisation and DVB-RCS systems. and other specifications published by the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Project. Within FP6, he leads activities in two FP6 Networks of Excellence (SatNEx in satellite communications and 3DTV in next generation digital TV and SATSIX, where work focuses on tools to analyse the IP performance of streaming media flows, specifically to understand the implications of sharing capacity when deploying 3-play services).

This research has favoured a blend of simulation and practical investigation. From the roof of our building we have operated a wide range of Very Small Aperture satellite Terminals (VSATs) - primarily for IP network benchmarking and pilot demonstrations. Although we have operated a number of two-way VSATs including a number of very early prototype Ka-Band terminals, we currently maintain a selection of DVB-based satellite terminals. I also provide a series of lectures on the Internet and Digital Video Broadcast as a part of an annual one-week professional course at the University of York.

Current Research

My current research interests include:

  • Evolution of Internet-friendly radio/satellite link layer protocols to support the IP traffic of next generation networks. I believe the design of link mechanisms (QoS; ARQ; Access/BoD; etc) should be influenced by general Internet requirements, and that this goes much further than a "one-size-fits-all" approach to link design. Cross-layer optimsations have an important role, providing that safe techniques can be found.
  • I have lead several studies investigating TCP performance (and application layer performance!!) over satellite and/or bandwidth-on-demand (BoD) links. Although the end-to-end argument has been challenged by some new applications and the emergence of middleboxes, this remains the key reason for the success and scalability of the Internet. I have therfore several times been a critique of TCP-PEP, and the range of PEP mechanisms and their corresponding performance gains. I'm always pleased to find out more, especially about new mechanisms, and their advantages and/or weaknesses.
  • I have great hopes for IP multicast deployment, and have for many years been an enthusiastic advocate, user, and experimenter. Research has focussed on both the link layer and the development of standards-based mechanisms for reliable multicast transport.
  • The research group has a successful tradition of combining practical experience with simulation. It was among the early adopters of HTTP web servers and IP multicast. Several projects have touched on other key networking topics: X.25; IPv6; diffserv; Adaptive FEC; etc, with a focus on evolution of the transport protocol and service.


Since 2004, my research group has been a member of the prestigious European SatNEx Network of Excellence, which brings together 22 leading European research establishments in the satellite communications field, and within this, he leads the work on Standardisation.

Research Grants

Research is funded from a range of sources including: EPSRC, European Space Agency (ESA), European Commission (EC), Private Companies (e.g. Astrium, Inmarsat, QinetiQ, Thales), and governement agencies (e.g. DSTL).

Teaching Responsibilities

I teach a course on Communications Engineering (EG3567).

I have been an invited speaker at many commercial and research meetings on TCP/IP and Broadband standards and the future evolution of the transport service for the Internet.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

I participate in several standards processes, and strongly advocate open discussion in the development of communications standards. My current activities are focussed on the European Telecoms Standards Institute (ETSI) Broadband Satellite Multimedia working group (of TC-SES) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), where I chair the IPDVB and DCCP working groups. I also chaired the TANA BoF on peer-to-peer transport.

I am a member of the UK EPSRC College.



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