The approval of normative activities for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) in 3GPP Release 17 has generated significant interest among industry stakeholders. The Rel-17 NTN work items have received support from a diverse range of vendors, including those in the terminal, chipset, and network segments, as well as service providers from both mobile and space industries, and vertical user groups such as ESOA.
The Technical Specification Group (TSG) RAN and TSG SA have been actively progressing towards the goal of satellite inclusion in 3GPP technical specifications, with a focus on transparent payload architecture with Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) systems. The normative phase encompasses physical and access layer aspects, radio access network and system architecture, radio resource management, and RF requirements for targeted satellite networks operating at Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), or Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
The 3GPP Rel-17 specifications are expected to be completed by March 2022 and will support New Radio (NR) based satellite access deployed in Frequency Range 1 (FR1) bands, serving handheld devices for global service continuity. Additionally, the 3GPP Rel-17 specification will also support Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and enhanced Machine Type Communication (eMTC) based satellite access to address massive IoT use cases in areas such as agriculture, transport, logistics, and others.
The of satellite networks into the 3GPP ecosystem with Rel-17 will establish a global standard for future satellite networks. This will enhance service reliability and dependability, particularly in unserved or underserved areas. Moreover, it will support seamless connectivity between different access technologies, improving network resilience and responsiveness during natural disasters or emergencies caused by humans.
Discussions have already commenced among industry stakeholders, including ESOA members, to further enhance both NR-NTN and IoT-NTN in the context of 3GPP Rel-18. Additionally, plans are underway to define enablers for NR-based satellite access above the 10 GHz frequency band. This will serve fixed and mobile platforms, as well as building-mounted devices, enabling new capabilities and services as the 5G evolution progresses.
About the co-authors:
Munira Jaffar represents EchoStar and Hughes as the lead delegate, while Nicolas Chuberre, from Thales Alenia Space, serves as the rapporteur of the NR_NTN_solutions work item in TSG RAN and the FS-5GET study item in WG SA1. Both are actively involved in the Standards Working Group of the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA).
See more: https://192-168-i-i.com/3gpp-release-15/