NR for Non-terrestrial Networks
Key features of satellite are:
- Coverage: Satellite can support network operators in meeting their economic and legal requirements in reaching 100% of a territory and its populations.
- Resiliency: It complements terrestrial networks in case of local disruptions due to natural or man-made disasters.
- Ubiquity: Global coverage can be achieved beyond land masses, over oceans and in the air.
- Broadcasting: As a satellite is placed at an altitude ranging from 600 km to as high as 35,786 km.
Possible satellite integration scenarios include: Transparent based satellite network; Regenerative based satellite network; Backhaul via satellite network.
One of the novel features of the 2nd 5G Vertical User Workshop (July 2019) was a mapping of common requirements across verticals aimed at enabling the creation of interest groups around mutual priorities. As an enabler of several verticals and user scenarios, satellite can meet requirements for rail (UIC), mobility (SNCF), maritime (IALA), public safety (PSCE), broadcasting and media (EBU). The underlying assumption is that the same UE (user equipment) has to be used for direct access to satellite networks and direct access to terrestrial networks.
In police operations, where helicopters are critical, satellite could meet the necessary continuity and reliability.
Standardisation work in 3GPP on satellite integration following a stepwise approach:
- Study Item FS_5GSAT (SA1): Study on using Satellite Access in 5G; Stage 1 (Release 16) - TR 22.822 (completed).
- Work Item 5GSAT(SA1): Service requirements for the 5G system; Stage 1 (Release 16) - TS 22.261 (completed).
- Study Item FS_5GSAT_ARCH (SA2): Study on architecture aspects for using satellite access in 5G (Release 16) - TR 23.737.
- Study Item FS_5G_SAT_MO (SA5): Study on management and orchestration aspects of integrated satellite components in a 5G network - TR 28.808.
- Study Item FS_NR_nonterr_nw on NR (RAN): Study on New Radio (NR) to support Non-Terrestrial Networks (Release 15) - TR 38.811.
- Study Item FS_NR_NTN_SOLUTIONS (RAN3): Solutions for NR to support non-terrestrial networks (Release 16) - TR 38.821.
Pitches on common requirements: Cyril Michel, Thales Alenia Space, a 3GPP rapporteur; Roland Beutler (EBU, SWR), Kees Verweij (Police of the Netherlands).
Relevant verticals and associations:Satellite (ESOA), Broadcast (EBU), Public Safety (PSCE), Utilities (EUTC), Transportation (UIC).
Related 3GPP TSG WGs: SA1, SA2, SA5 and RAN, e.g. RAN3.