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SaT5G Project Finally Demonstrates 5G Data over Satellite

Thursday, November 28th, 2019 (12:32 am) - Score 1,188

Back in 2017 the Satellite and Terrestrial Network for 5G (SaT5G) project, supported by 16 operators like BT, Avanti, SES and €8.3m via the EU’s Horizon 2020 5G Research & Innovation contract, began work to integrate Satellite and future 5G Mobile networks. The project has now completed “several successful demonstrations” of the network.

As you’d expect there are a lot of situations where high capacity terrestrial fixed line or fixed wireless networks are unable to connect with Mobile networks, such as on ships at sea or via aircraft. Often in those situations it’s necessary to have a Satellite connection that can manage the data (mobile broadband) and other traffic.

Existing 2G, 3G and 4G mobile networks already have such technologies and future 5G networks will need to go even further.

Fast forward to today and the project has for the first time successfully integrated satellite into 3GPP 5G testbed networks. Using the testbeds several 5G use-case demonstrations over live satellite links have been performed, with the satellite links performing several different tasks.

Mike Fitch, Technical Manager of SaT5G, said:

“SaT5G is about integrating satellite links with heavy emphasis on standardisation to allow trusted operation and to facilitate industry adoption. The focus is on eMBB to fixed and mobile networks, including support for orchestration and slicing, with the satellite links providing backhaul connectivity either alone or in parallel (multilink) connectivity with terrestrial links.

Innovations from the project include satellite modem VNFs, business process modelling including brokers, and improved multicast and multilink algorithms for use with satellite.”

The project performed research and demonstrated in the areas of direct and indirect connectivity for satellite to show satellites to be beneficial in delivering content to the network edge, providing backhaul to cellular base-stations, improving the broadband experience to premises, and providing connectivity to aircraft moving platforms through emulated Geostationary (GEO) and over-the-air Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite connectivity.

Two of the main technological advances in 5G are the virtualisation of network functions (VNFs) and the use of end-to-end slices providing network services with specified quality of service (QoS). The SaT5G project claims to have succeeded in designing and deploying several satellite-specific VNFs on OpenStack and Kubernetes, and in developing an integrated architecture so that satellite links can seamlessly carry network slices.

The SaT5G project proposed the following 5G use cases as being pertinent to integrated satellite delivery.

* 5G backhaul to a fixed terminal
* Edge delivery of & offload for multimedia content
* 5G to the premises
* Moving platform use-case

The first three use cases above were demonstrated during the workshop in Surrey this week over a live satellite network via Avanti’s GEO HYLAS 4 satellite and using ST Engineering iDirect’s 5G-enabled Intelligent Gateway (IGW) satellite ground infrastructure that to the University of Surrey (5GIC) 5G testbed core network to 5G UE terminals in small 5G cells.

All the 5GIC testbed use cases use this integrated 5G Non-Terrestrial-Network (NTN) system for the live satellite connectivity. The moving platform use-case was demonstrated using a video recording of a live demonstration over SES’s O3b O3B MEO satellite system operated by SES, using terminals from SES and Gilat and a core network from Quortus.

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1 Response
  1. Avatar CarlT

    Looks like a great use case for SD-WAN to manage the multiple backhaul transport underlay elements in a more intelligent way.

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