by TIP News

In 2022, TIP’s innovation extended into satellite and other non-terrestrial access, with the progress of the TIP Non-Terrestrial Connectivity Solutions (NTCS) Project Group. Satellite operators and system vendors were busy exploring new ways to leverage open RAN concepts and architecture to better manage and unify satellite services, and to provide 5G services via satellite.

The NTCS PG welcomed new members and increased participation from Viasat, Orange, Airbus, Aalyria, Keysight and others in 2022, alongside previous group members that were key to leading the group’s direction including Inmarsat, SES, Omnispace, and the European Space Agency. The support of operator groups has been key towards developing use cases descriptions and applications for non-terrestrial access. Notably, the group has been exploring unification with terrestrial RAN, and using the O-RAN RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller) to intelligently manage space-based services.

In 2022, TIP NTCS has published its initial tranche of 5 requirements documents that support use cases including maritime access, IoT communications, and direct mobile personal communications. These requirements are available for vendors to demonstrate compliance with and obtain bronze badges, demonstrating product and solution maturity. These will be improved upon and extended in 2023 to keep pace with developments in the industry, standards, and operator needs.

Other important events for TIP NTCS in 2022 included:

  • Events and speaking opportunities
  • IEEE Aerospace paper presented by Meta
  • IEEE ICC panel presentation, providing the TIP perspective alongside other industry and academic work in “3D” non-terrestrial networks
  • FYUZ (October) panel session from Sony Semiconductor / Midokura, Inmarsat, Omnispace, and Aalyria
  • Other collaborations
  • Presentation by NTCS chairs to the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA)
  • Collaboration with the HAPS Alliance

What to Expect in H2 2023

Satellite and HAPS access networks are currently being developed and expanded by both established and startup companies, with many new technologies being developed and adapted for the unique challenges that these operators face. The TIP NTCS project group is welcoming broader participation and new members. Going forward into 2023, the NTCS PG is working on revisions of its deliverables to keep pace with the industry’s needs and the enhancements for Non-Terrestrial Networking (NTN) that 3GPP is working on within Release 18 and beyond. Included in this scope are exciting new aspects such as regenerative payloads with a gNodeB operating in the air or space, integrated access and backhaul architectures, and other features.