Sometimes it is difficult to access the mobile internet or a simple telephone call if you are out of town, then think about what might happen if you lost in the mountains or at sea. This coverage problem could be solved by an unexpected means: the satellite. The latter is indeed set to integrate for the first time a mobile phone standard, that of 5G.
In any case, the 3GPP group is studying the issue very seriously. Our simple smartphones would connect in the future directly to satellites, in addition to mobile antennas.
Minimal connection, but available everywhere
The first advantage, the satellite would make subscribers more quickly eligible for 5G. It is not sure that the deployment of 5G will be rapid throughout the territory and especially in rural areas. But the advantage of the satellite is its ubiquity. No need to coordinate the construction of towers and the installation of antennas.
The satellite would also offer the possibility of extending the mobile coverage in places that are currently excluded: in the air, at sea or in the mountains, for example.
Much more speed
The speed of 1 Gb/s, promised by Qualcomm, should impact both mobile and other devices. Experts believe that such connections will be widely available to users and can reach up to 10 Gb/s in ideal conditions.
With so much bandwidth available, some new applications become possible. New gadgets with the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected and standalone vehicles are two of the fronts that can benefit from the high volume of data traffic allowed by 5G.
Compatibility and implementation
The new 5G standard complements another technical rule released by 3GPP in December 2017. Before that, the consortium referred to the technical specifications necessary for manufacturers to create modems, transmission devices, and other equipment.
The new document closes the development cycle, as it determines the final specifications of fifth-generation networks. 5G products already in circulation in some markets, based on previously published documentation, 4G carriers cannot reach the full potential of next-generation mobile networks.
The expectation is that the 5G replace the 4G progressively, living with the old technology for some time, as happened between 4G and 3G. This applies not only to the coverage area but also to devices: mobile phones, tablets and even laptops with support for 5G networks will be compatible with old standards.
The integrated satellite in the next 18 months?
June 14 was a big step forward for 5G. That day, in San Diego, the 3GPP group finalized the first phase of the standardization, which will allow this new technology to be deployed and exploited as quickly as possible. The process does not stop there, and the 5G will continue to evolve in the coming years. A new chapter opens now, Release 16 (5G phase 2), with the schedule specifications including the integration of this vital satellite component in the next 18 months.
This is a small revolution because the world of satellite and mobile phone consider each other as competitors. With the key a real opportunity to bounce back for the actors of the aerospace, which see their frequency bands diminishing as the progress of the ramping up of mobile traffic progresses.
To reign in the 5G, these companies launched the Satellite for the 5G initiative last year, bringing together the ESA (European Space Agency), Airbus Defense and Space, Eutelsat, ViaSat, Thales Alenia Space, Intelsat, and OneWeb. Thus federated, they managed to convince the 3GPP to study their proposals closely.