Scientific Session: The role of the satellite in 5G networks and beyond
Abstract: The broad innovation introduced by the New Radio (NR) 5G standard in the field of communications was conceived to improve the existing mobile networks and enable many new services, and is expected to have a significant impact on both network infrastructures and technologies. The main identified use cases are described as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine type communications (mMTC) and ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC), each with specific requirements and entailing different problems, for which non-terrestrial networks (NTN) over satellite links can provide useful solutions:
- eMBB: satellites can be used to extend and/or back up existing terrestrial networks in order to ensure broadband connectivity also in underserved rural/remote areas, or for moving user equipments like in airplanes, trains or vessels.
- uRLCC: nearly real-time and/or critical applications cannot take advantage of the typical high-latency connectivity of satellite links, but NTN can, in this case, help unburden the data load for the terrestrial network to be more efficient and reliable.
- mMTC: the terrestrial network needs to be considerably scaled to enable the connection of millions of devices for typical internet-of-things (IOT) services, and in this light NTN can play a role as a backhaul for a class of latency non-critical data, and to serve remote areas.
For all these expected use cases, specific analyses must be carried out in order to obtain a reliable characterization of the channel models and deployment scenarios, so that proper solutions can be designed to comply with the NR standard with the integration of NTN. Detailed ongoing studies are facing both physical layer and media access control (MAC) layer issues, e.g., link budget, latency requirements, satellite channel impairments in relation to 5G waveforms, etc.
In this scenario, the presentation will introduce the current architectural trends for NTN as well as the specific MAC and physical layers issues and potential solutions, concluding with the vision of the beyond 5G role for SatCom Networks.