Mobile networks of the future will not just be 5G or 6G; they’ll be zero G. Lynk Global launched the first direct-to-mobile commercial satellite in April. On August 15, AST SpaceMobile, a rival, announced plans to launch its experimental direct-to-mobile satellite in mid-September. As launch costs decline, satellite fabrication techniques advance. Telecommunications engineers push new network capabilities, Inmarsat and other businesses are developing their own low Earth orbit (LEO) cellular solutions. 5G satellite solutions will have a lot in store for the world of telecommunications.
The Role of Satellites Solutions in 5G Networks
The 3GPP recently introduced space-based platforms to mix 5G access technologies. The standards body is working to define satellite access requirements that will be included with the complete 5G specifications upon release. The 3GPP acknowledges that satellite networks can provide ubiquity and availability for 5G mission-critical and industrial applications.
Today’s global communications infrastructure is incredibly dependent on space-based networks, which offer mobile backhaul, broadband, linear and non-linear TV, and IoT. The benefits of satellite solutions, including their ubiquity, resilience, mobility, and capacity for broadcasting, are even more significant in the 5G era.
Space-based platforms are perfect for connecting users traveling in moving vehicles, such as trains, planes, and ships when it comes to mobility. The eMBB services aim to increase mobility, among other things. Furthermore, uptime guarantees, and network dependability are necessary for mMTC and MC-MTC use cases. Wherever a fault arises, space-based systems offer backup to restore services across terrestrial networks in the event of planned or accidental network disruptions.
Space-based networks convey multimedia material via broadcast and multicast streams, which are crucial characteristics for supporting the 5G use cases. These use cases include applications that call for edge caching, local distribution, and consumer multimedia services. Network operators can more effectively scale services and network capacity by broadcasting data or media to the network edge, whether for local content caching or software upgrades for edge servers.
Mobile carriers can hasten the development of 5G services and applications with the help of these enhancements to terrestrial networks. According to the 5G use cases, space-based satellite solutions can backhaul massive, remote IoT deployments for mMTC, deliver multi-gigabit speeds everywhere in the world for eMBB, and guarantee network availability and reliable communications.
A small constellation or group of satellites can cover almost the whole inhabited surface of the Earth. Compared to any terrestrial network, even one satellite may reach a significantly greater number of prospective subscribers. Platforms stationed in space provide constant coverage of the globe and a reliable range of specific locations. Space-based platforms must provide all-encompassing coverage regardless of the 5G use case, such as eMBB, mMTC, or MC-MTC.
Applications of Space-Based 5G
The eMBB use case in crowded urban areas will be the focal point of the first 5G installations. However, operators can offer 5G services outside of metropolitan areas and enable more extensive use cases using space-based networks. Some of the most essential space-based 5G use cases for you to consider are:
Morevoer, space-based systems offer durable backup for terrestrial networks worldwide in vital communications. Satellite solutions will provide the service continuity required for future industrial control applications and crucial communications as the Internet of Things scales to massive connectivity in the 5G era. Network operators do not need to wait for 5G to start offering many of the applications mentioned above. 5G is an evolution and will be coupled with the current 4G infrastructure in short- to medium-term. Space-based technologies can be implemented as a part of 4G network plans and will be prepared to support upcoming 5G services.
A Backhaul for Remote Locations
Similarly, to our current networks, space-based systems will make it possible to bring 5G broadband connection to underserved places where it is not practical to build out terrestrial infrastructures, such as isolated villages, islands, or mountain areas. This also includes broadband services in suburban and rural locations and on-board ships or airplanes. A community’s 5G Wi-Fi services will be supported by satellites in areas with spotty or nonexistent connectivity. Additionally, space-based backhaul will support emergency response teams, give broadband access for one-time sporting or entertainment events anywhere in the world, and offer disaster relief services.
Connections to Edge Servers
A vital component of 5G networks is edge computing, such as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). Speed and low latency goals necessitate shifting processing from centralized data centers to edge servers closer to users. Space-based systems can scale the terrestrial network at a low cost by providing high-capacity backhaul connectivity and multicasting to numerous edge servers across enormous distances. Satellites can also distribute software updates for MEC via satellite-based backhaul, which can transmit content like live broadcasts, multicast streams, or group communications to the network edge.
Furthermore, users on moving vessels can only receive 5G broadband through satellite-based networks. Comprising automobiles, ships, aircraft, and fast trains. The ability applies to mMTC and the eMBB use case because satellites can combine traffic from IoT sensors installed in moving vehicles. This enables applications for connected autos, navigation, and fleet management. Additionally, space-based broadcasting capabilities enable global over-the-air software updates for connected cars.
Space-based platforms can offer high-speed connectivity to offices and homes so that content can be unicasted to users or devices or streamed over large geographic areas. Additionally, IoT data aggregation for communications involving many machines is supported by hybrid networks. High-capacity satellite connections provide users with direct connectivity and supplement terrestrial networks.
The Future of Satellite Solutions in 5G
Big names like SpaceX are exciting the world with huge promises. The promises of the internet everywhere and a world far more connected. Major telcos are rushing to capitalize on this booming market. Among various satellite operators, SpaceX has seen its fair share of blunders. These blunders can present a window of opportunity for you to invest more in 5G in space and all the potential that satellite solutions bring.
Moreover, According to Juniper Research, operator-billed 5G service revenue will reach $315 billion by 2023. Growing 60 percent yearly, but cautioned that additional income outside of subscriptions was still under development. According to the business, the transition of mobile subscribers to 5G networks would be fueled by operator policies that reduce or eliminate premiums over current 4G pricing.
Lastly, the construction of 5G networks and services by mobile operators’ costs billions of dollars, but supplemental revenue beyond serving consumer devices has yet to appear. Juniper Research identified network slicing capabilities of standalone (5G SA) as a potential avenue for further revenue development. Despite the anticipated economic slowdown, it predicted that more than 600 new 5G subscriptions would be added in 2023. Such data can incentivize you to consider 5G as a fertile ground for satellite solutions to grow.
Lastly, mobile network strategies in the 5G era are expected to give space-based communication platforms a more significant role. Providers of space-based solutions are great partners for implementing 5G network strategies. Due to the wide range of use cases with various needs and the desire to link everyone and everything. Intelsat is driving the conversation regarding the critical place of space-based communications in 5G networks as a member of the GSMA and ATIS. The network of networks that incorporates space-based communications. Which enables seamless connectivity across technologies in the 5G future. Providing new verticals for mobile operators to grow their markets and investigate new revenue streams.
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