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5G approaches the point in its timeline when correspondent networks and devices are ready to materialize the concept at the scale needed to support viable communications. As it does, we get closer to seeing the related concepts and hypothesis come into practice.

Satellite solutions, in view of this, are expected to gain momentum over their terrestrial counterparts, with a special focus on backhaul solutions. Various debates, events and materials revolve around satellite networks. Some say that 5G needs to tap into satellite bandwidth, regardless of the alignment (or the lack of it), between the two. However, the satellite communications ecosystem does make essential steps towards preparing for the 5G age. The specialists study the challenges and debate the best ways of overcoming them. New alliances get forged. Various partners to this endeavor started testing the most viable solutions.

On this background, the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (European Space Agency) whitepaper (2016), aiming to position the satellite-terrestrial integration opportunities in the 5G environment proves an interesting read.

We selected the main 5G promises from this whitepaper. Most of them are in the same time real challenges from a tech perspective. Perhaps you will find the following highlights insightful.

 

The main 5G challenges, according to ARTES (ESA)

  • Latency

“To make the best use of the 5G radio low latency the end-to-end service level communication    has to have also a low latency”. This is achievable by “moving the functionality to the edge of    the network, at a location close to the termination of the very low delay 5G radio network”. The backhauling therefore needs to be reliable, secure, and safe – 3 characteristics satellite networks can provide.

 

  • Edge nodes that supports on demand, flexible deployments

This involves distributing the data in a uniform manner to a high number of edge nodes. Again, the satellites having native, large-scale broadcasting mechanisms comes in handy.

 

  • Security and privacy concerns

Since a satellite network provider covers large geographical areas, using this environment can surpass the fragmentation of security and privacy aspects coming from local/regional peering.

 

  • Network resilience and availability

Again, fragmentation and lack of availability is more likely to appear in terrestrial networks. On the other hand, satellites have a high availability rate.

 

  • Mobility support for a large number of use cases

Going beyond what the current technology supports, 5G needs to provide the backbone for global connectivity, as well as high speed platforms (automotive, trains, planes). Delivering a flawless experience for the mix of low speed mobile devices and high speed mobility comes back to the efficiency of satellites, again.

 

  • Addressing a very high number of devices, whilst in the same time constantly delivering common services (such as updates)

Satellite backhaul could handle the extra data traffic, in addition to the regular demand in the system. Alternatively, an integrated satellite-terrestrial solution could share the load.

 

  • Software-delivered new transmission protocols, features and capabilities

Software-defined means of delivering the flexibility 5G promises are key. The same piece of software needs to be able to handle different communication technologies, given the right parametrizations. This demands for satellite networks convergence.

 

  • Sharing an unified single infrastructure

Full convergence points again towards an integrated satellite- terrestrial infrastructure. Completed with a dynamic selection of the specific data transport means to use, sharing this structure should decrease costs and allow the involved parties to focus on development, instead of competition.

 

  • Energy savings

Terrestrial infrastructure needs energy input at a local level, otherwise it cannot function. Broadcasting data to a high number of devices by using a satellite network should reduce the energy consumption required by communications.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tech

Satellites are extremely important for the communication sector. In certain locations and/or circumstances, the terrestrial communication infrastructure is inefficient or even completely out of range/function. That’s where they come in.
You may remember this from our previous post about satellite communication as an enticing solution for Cellular backhaul.Or from the Codecamp presentation held by Mr. Petrut Ionel Romeo, Technical Project Manager at Lasting Software.

As you may gather, we are fascinated by the software engineering side that carries this technology. It does open up new solutions to old problems, such as access to communications for geographically-isolated or architecturally-isolated spots. It also allows to surmount extreme bandwidth crowdedness. With satellite cellular backhaul one can provide communication access for all in areas such as stadiums and malls. Also, satellite-based cellular backhaul constitutes a solid communication infrastructure for emergency response.

On top of all these, an extremely hot topic among the satellite communication potential uses is the 5G technology. To quote from a Space News article, “satellites can bring 5G to areas where terrestrial connectivity companies consider it too expensive to build fiber-optic cables”. In other words, satellites are able to make ubiquitous coverage possible when it comes to 5G.


Why exploring and developing satellite-powered 5G is a premiere opportunity

 

Satellite communication as a solution for Cellular backhaul works and it is as well important for the current wireless mobile telecommunications. But developing solutions for 5G while this technology is taking shape is fascinating. It provides so much more opportunities of synchronizing two amazing progress points. 3G, 4G and LTE networks have evolved and in some aspects have met their limits. Perhaps they even derived the said limits from the lack of a satellite-based infrastructure.

Meanwhile 5G may just prove the whizz kid, born in the right times to fully develop its potential.

What about the advantages estimated in relation with the role of satellite in 5G? We can only quote Newtec. This will “enable newer types of applications and services in the domains of health, transport, entertainment, machine-to-machine communications, and security, to name just a few”.

See their full material here for details.

 

Space powers human communications

With perhaps the ultimate aim of allowing us to further explore it, space provides the hope for a more robust communication infrastructure. Satellite-backed ubiquitous 5G is set to trigger a leap in technological progress.

To quote the European Space Agency (ESA):

“Satellites can extend, enhance, and provide reliability and security to 5G like no other, helping to deliver its promise of global, ubiquitous connectivity, with no noticeable difference to the end-user. ESA’s Satellite for 5G (S45G) programme aims promote the value-added benefits of space to 5G, by developing and demonstrating integrated satellite- and terrestrial-based 5G services, across multiple markets and use cases”.

See their video:

Stay tuned for more!

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