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First software-defined 5G New Radio demonstration over GEO satellite

Satellite-enabled 5G services have the potential to provide worldwide connectivity. For the first time now, selected extensions of 5G New Radio (NR) to support non-terrestrial networks (NTN) have been successfully demonstrated over a geostationary (GEO) satellite. The Munich Center for Space Communications of the Bundeswehr University Munich carried out the bidirectional over-the-air tests based on the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS's extended 5G New Radio protocol stack for satellite.

www.iis.fraunhofer.de, Mar. 12, 2021 – 

When transmitted via GEO satellites, radio signals have to bridge great distances. This leads to delays, so that an enhanced 5G air interface is required. These challenges are addressed in the current work program for Release 17 of 5G NR within the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardization by specifying new features supporting non-terrestrial networks in 5G.

In order to provide an early proof of concept, Fraunhofer IIS and the Munich Center for Space Communications (Bundeswehr University Munich) recently tested some of the planned extensions for 5G NR via GEO satellite. The over-the-air demonstration was conducted within the 5G METEORS program, an ARTES MakerSpace for 5G and satellite communication funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

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