2020 – The activities of this project (funded by ESA) are contextualized in the adaptation of the technical outcomes of the standardization process in progress for 5G to allow the use of the satellite component in the future system.

The project aims to develop a demonstrator where the communication between a NB-IoT user and the satellite eNB is functionally verified. The main objectives are:

  • The identification of the necessary changes to NB-IoT for operations via satellite link, for both access stratum (AS) and non-access stratum (NAS);
  • The development of a satellite RAN, including UE, baseband processing and RF processing of the Uu interface, and on-board eNB;
  • The functional and performance verification of NB-IoT over satellite.

The demonstrator will consist of an on-board eNB prototype integrated in a testbed capable of emulating a number of UEs through a traffic emulator, an adapted NB-IoT UE and channel satellite emulator to demonstrate the system’s performance in realistic conditions. The targeted improvement is to enable the integration of 3GPP NB-IoT UEs into satellite networks.

NITEL, coordinating WP1, is in charge to identify the most relevant scenarios and use cases through critical review of relevant 3GPP technical specifications and the state of the art in the scientific literature. Moreover, it must identify issues and technical challenges related to specific scenarios and provide baseline architecture.

The KO meeting was held on April 1st 2020.