SaT5G Project Completes Successful Demonstrations of 5G Over Satellite

The SaT5G project showcased 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. We have listed some of the demonstrations and use cases that were showcased in Spain.

Over-the-air MEC based layered video streaming over a 5G multilink satellite and terrestrial network 

The demonstration showcased a video streaming network which integrates 5G over parallel satellite and terrestrial delivery paths to provide enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE) for users consuming 4K video content. In the demo, multiple clients send scalable video coded (SVC) layer download requests to a Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) server, which dynamically adapts the bit rate and selects the satellite or terrestrial path depending on the content. The demo shows how this SVC- HTTP Adaptive Streaming (HAS) MEC proxy produces improved QoE and fairness amongst clients and off-loading to the satellite. The innovative demonstration highlights how a MEC proxy can incorporate bit rate adaptation, link selection and enhance layered video streams for future 5G over satellite networks. 

Over-the-air multicast over satellite video for caching and live content delivery 

The demonstration showcased using 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 via multicasting, adaptive content distribution and local content caching. The showcased the benefits in terms of bandwidth efficiency and delivery cost of using a satellite-enabled link for provisioning live content in a 5G system. In addition, the demonstration also showcased low latency with mABR live streaming and OTT Streams Synchronisation. A joint demonstration was also undertaken between SaT5G and 5G-Xcast project with the above platform. 

Video demonstration for delivery of 5G connectivity services to airline passengers 

The demonstration showcased 5G technology aboard an 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. Zodiac Inflight Innovation led the demonstration in partnership with Broadpeak, Gilat Satellite Networks, i2CAT, Quortus and SES. 

Demonstration of local (MEC) content caching in 5G with hybrid backhaul network 

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 TNO stand-alone desktop demo consists of a number of mini PCs (Intel NUC), with complete all software functionality with Open5GCore (release 4), OpenSAND (emulating GEO satellite), MEC node (hosting DANE and UPF), eNB and UE (OpenAirInterface). 

Video demonstration of 5G New Radio (NR) over satellite networks 

The University of Oulu demonstration showcased the modification needed at the uplink random access process to allow for higher latency and increased Doppler frequency shift. The main changes are in timing advance value calculation and transmission, and extending the timers related to the random access process. The backhaul and direct user access cases are covered in the demo. To demonstrate the former case, the demonstrated “5G” satellite system forms a backhaul link between a 5G base station of the 5G Test Network (5GTN) in UOULU and its core network. The test result shows that with adjustments in the timing advance value calculation and transmission, and extending the timers related to the random access process it is possible to apply 5G NR standards for future satellite systems. The video also shows throughput performance measurements compared to the standard (unmodified) system. The University of Oulu demo consists of a satellite link based on Open Air Interface (OAI) LTE FDD) software and USRP radios as well as an OpenEPC as the satellite system’s core network. In the backhaul case, the developed satellite system is connected between the 5GTN core and a Nokia’s non-standalone 5G base station. The UE in the demo is a QUALCOMM’s 5G test device. 

Demonstration of Hybrid 5G Backhauling to extend services for rural markets and large gathering events 

The Ekinops demonstration showcased 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 QoE achieved by combining satellite-terrestrial links bandwidths for fast upload and download traffic and the terrestrial link low latency for interactive traffic. MP-TCP and MP-QUIC multi-path protocols that aggregate the links are extended with a path selection algorithm based on object length, sending short objects on the lowest latency terrestrial link and long objects on the two links. The demonstrated 5G-hybrid backhaul relies on state-of-the-art multipath protocols and shows satellite as a viable backhaul link for 5G service.