The SaT5G project has announced the operation of a number of successful demonstrations of 5G over satellite at the 2019 European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC 2019) in Valencia, Spain.
The project vision is to develop a cost-effective plug-and-play SATCOM solution for 5G to enable mobile operators and network vendors to accelerate 5G deployment across all geographies and multiple use cases whilst at the same time creating new and growing market opportunities for SATCOM industry stakeholders.
The demonstration showcases a network that integrates 5G over parallel satellite and terrestrial delivery paths to provide enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE) for users consuming 4K video content. The innovative demonstration highlights how a Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) proxy can incorporate bit-rate adaptation, link selection and enhance layered video streams for future satellite and terrestrial integrated networks.
The demonstration is undertaken in partnership with Avanti’s high-throughput HYLAS 4 GEO satellite capacity, University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre testbed network and VT iDirect’s 5G-enabled satellite hub platform and satellite terminals
The demonstration showcases over-the-air satellite multicast technology for the delivery of live channels using a MEC platform for Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration with efficient edge content delivery.
The demonstration highlights the benefits, in terms of bandwidth efficiency and delivery cost, of using a satellite-enabled link for provisioning live content in a 5G system. The demonstration is undertaken in partnership with Avanti’s high-throughput HYLAS 4 GEO satellite capacity, Broadpeak’s CDN, University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre testbed network and VT iDirect’s 5G-enabled satellite hub platform and satellite terminals.
The demonstration showcases 5G technology aboard aircraft, leveraging virtualized services for content distribution. An integrated approach for the delivery of 5G connectivity services based on a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) SATCOM solution will be introduced. The innovation targets the next-generation inflight entertainment services to passengers and connectivity solutions for airplanes with a combined satellite and terrestrial 5G network.
The demonstration is undertaken in partnership with the Safran (Zodiac Inflight Innovations) virtualized A320 airplane cabin mock-up and connectivity infrastructure, Broadpeak’s content delivery platform, Gilat Satellite Networks’ Taurus VSAT unit and virtualized satellite hub, i2CAT’s terrestrial satellite resource coordinator (TALENT), Quortus’ mobile network core, and SES’s low-latency high-throughput O3b MEO satellite constellation.
Using a satellite emulator testbed, TNO demonstrates local access using an established satellite and terrestrial backhaul link with User Plane Function (UPF) located at a MEC node for content delivery. The UPF in the MEC node is used to handle requests for the local content with the ability to optimally select between satellite or terrestrial links depending on available capacity, network policy, link performance and the type of end-user profile. The innovation lies with the ability to set up connections for downloading content with the DASH Enabled Network Element (DANE) collocated with UPF, which can now handle both satellite and terrestrial links simultaneously.
The University of Oulu demonstration jointly defined with Thales Alenia Space shows that with some modifications, it is possible to apply 5G NR over satellite links for future satellite systems. As listed in 3GPP TR 38.811, the key issues that need addressing include higher latency and increased Doppler shift. The demo concentrates on the uplink random access process.
The Ekinops demonstration showcases how a standard 5G User Equipment (UE) leverages a hybrid backhaul and validates the performance required by 5G services, including packet loss mitigation and remediation. The solution provides tangible measurements of very high QoE achieved by combining satellite-terrestrial links bandwidths for fast upload and download traffic and the terrestrial link low latency for interactive traffic. The demonstrated 5G-hybrid backhaul relies on state-of-the-art multipath protocols and shows satellite as a viable backhaul link for 5G service.
Indran Sivarajah, Project Director of SaT5G, said SaT5G is a bold project and the goal is to ensure that with the roll-out of 5G networks, the gap between the unconnected and connected world does not widen any further. For mobile operators, these underserved markets are seen as key to accessing the last remaining 1.6 billion subscribers and SATCOMs are well positioned to play a major role here. We want to build an attractive plug-and-play SATCOM solution with 5G for telcos and network vendors to accelerate 5G deployment and at the same time creating new and growing market opportunities for the SATCOM industry.
Mike Fitch, Technical Manager of SaT5G said that SaT5G is about integrating satellite links with heavy emphasis on standardization 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 (multi-link) connectivity with terrestrial links. Innovations from the project include satellite modem VNFs, business process modeling including brokers, and improved multicast and multi-link algorithms for use with satellite.