A multi-layered satellite network (MLSN) appears to be a promising network for providing global ubiquitous broadband communication. To utilize the abundant network resources of the MLSNs, fair traffic distribution among its satellite layers is, indeed, important. In this paper, we propose a routing method to optimally distribute traffic load among the layers (i.e., the satellite layers in the MLSN). The load balancing scheme of the proposed routing method is developed by adopting a traffic distribution model, which is based upon network capacity estimation and theoretical analysis of the congestion rate in each layer. The performance of the proposed routing method has been validated through extensive computer simulations, which demonstrate that our traffic distribution model is reliable enough to characterize the traffic behavior in the MLSN. Furthermore, in contrast with the basic routing approach, our proposed routing method is more effective in terms of improved throughput and lower packet drops, which are optimized by the theoretical parameter setting.
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