March 7, 2023
TRANTOR, 5G-STARDUST and AROMA3D will facilitate the standardization of satellite usage and enable 5G to have universal deployment.
Hispasat has launched three new innovation projects aimed at integrating terrestrial and satellite communications in the development of 5G-6G technologies. The objective is to ensure universal deployment of networks of this type so that they are also available in remote or less densely populated areas and even in maritime or aerial environments. It also standardizes the technological development of the satellite. The TRANTOR and 5G-STARDUST projects are funded by Horizon Europe and AROMA 3G is a national initiative.
As has been the case in the development of previous generations of mobile telephony, 5G technology has focused on the development of standard and interoperable technology between providers, manufacturers and operators. In other words, to allow the same technical parameters to be used at all times to facilitate people’s day-to-day life. In practice, this allows us to connect to the network of any operator other than our own to communicate with any point in the world that, in turn, may be connected to a different network. It further allows us to use our device in any destination to which we travel. It is an open technology approach that enables the new 5G mobile generation to grow faster, allowing increasingly more network and device manufacturers to appear on the market and, as a result, the technology evolves very quickly.
Conversely, the technological development of the satellite sector has traditionally been determined by the complexity of its systems and by very specific use cases. As a result, many of its solutions have a significant presence of functionalities from each manufacturer - and even from each operator - which makes interoperability between multiple networks difficult.
3GPP is the body in charge of the standardization of 3G, 4G and 5G networks, and in 2017 it began to work on adapting its technology, focused up until that time on terrestrial mobile networks, to the satellite environment. This step will allow, on the one hand, to ensure the compatibility of networks with satellite, favoring the evolution of this technology and a greater availability of its solutions. At the same time, it will also facilitate the deployment of 5G networks in areas where terrestrial infrastructure is not feasible for technical or economic reasons. Since 2020, HISPASAT has been part of the 3GPP working groups for this purpose.
In this regard, 5G Release 17, published last June, already includes the necessary adaptations so that the latest generation of mobile technology can work with transparent satellites. For this reason, it takes into account the special features of distance, latency and relative motion of satellite systems. This standardization is focused on use cases in the mobile satellite communications (MSS) environment for low bandwidth applications such as voice or the Internet of Things. Subsequent versions (release 18 and 19) are already working to accommodate new use cases and optimizations in this environment, as well as the inclusion of new frequencies geared towards broadband connectivity.
Three innovation projects
The first project is called TRANTOR and is made up of seven companies, namely, CTTC, SRS, INSTER, Indra, Fraunhofer, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Université du Luxembourg and Hispasat. It is funded by the Horizon Europe program, which aims to reduce the European Union's dependence on third countries to achieve global Internet access through the adoption of 5G and 6G satellite or non-terrestrial networks (NTN). The project consists of the development of dynamic components to enable multi-band, multi-orbit and multi-satellite connectivity services, new capabilities for future generations of on-board processors and user equipment for these advanced networks.
The second project is called 5G-STARDUST. It is an international initiative that is also part of the Horizon Europe program and is made up of ten companies, namely, DLR, Thales Alenia Space, Orange, Software Radio Systems, AW2S, Martel Innovate, CTTC, CNIT, Fraunhofer and Hispasat. This project investigates the development of new services based on ubiquitous radio access, taking advantage of advances in space transmissions and the development of new on-board satellite systems.
The third project is called AROMA3D. Unlike the two previous projects, this is a national project in which several Spanish companies collaborate, led by CTTC, and is financed through funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. It is aimed at investigating advanced technologies such as large-scale satellite-based multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) solutions or on-board processing based on edge computing (MEC). This project marks the first in-orbit validation of pre-6G non-terrestrial networks, thus anticipating the requirements defined by the 3GPP standard.
Hispasat brings to these three projects not only its experience in the definition, operation and marketing of satellite solutions, but also its vision as an operator for the development of new services and technologies. It will also provide the resources of its teleports and its fleet of satellites for the demonstration of 5G satellite technology over real links in space.
Hispasat, Redeia’s satellite operator, works to help citizens bridge the digital divide and promote sustainable development in society. It is the main communications bridge between Europe and America as a broadband and connectivity services provider through its companies in Spain and Latin America, where its Brazilian subsidiary Hispamar is located. It is also a leader in the broadcasting and distribution of audiovisual content in Spanish and Portuguese, including the transmission of Direct-to-Home (DTH) and High Definition Television (HDTV) digital platforms. Hispasat is the main driver of innovation in the Spanish aerospace sector and is committed to sustainability throughout its value chain. These activities make it one of the world's leading companies by revenue in its sector.
Víctor Inchausti – t +34 91 710 25 40 email@example.com