5G Non-Terrestrial Networks and Satellites

Land based mobile networks are going into space. For several years, the satellite industry has been participating in the 3GPP standards process with the goal of integrating their networks into the 5G ecosystem. The result is the arrival of 5G Non Terrestrial Networks (NTNs), both as a technology and an emerging market. Consumers and businesses have had access to satellite based TV, phones, internet service, and GPS for decades. What’s new is the attempt to integrate satellite-based signal transmission with a global standard and an extensive terrestrial mobile platform.

The 5G NTN market is young, and manufacturers are still sorting out chip level requirements. This paper is for anyone in that situation. It firstreviews drivers and use cases and identifi es key deployment challenges. Next, it points to several options and tradeoffs. Finally, it recaps three considerations for moving forward, includes an overview of one system on a chip (SoC) relevant to some NTN use cases, and spotlights several IoT related deployment issues.

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