How SatCom looks in 2022?

How SatCom looks in 2022?

SatCom industry is facing many new changes, challenges and possibilities. Read Magister CEO Jani Puttonen’s review of some of the latest SatCom developments in 2022.

Growth in the SatCom industry seems to be picking up pace, according to Jani Puttonen, CEO of Magister Solutions. The volume of satellites is rising, the technological capabilities are increasing, new vendors are showing up…

Network simulations ensure that new solutions will reach their full potential, but what else has been happening in the industry? What developments have been trending in 2022?

Satellite constellations and the new space race

Inevitably, large LEO satellite constellations are one of the most revolutionary developments in the field today. These constellations – consisting of hundreds and thousands, if not tens of thousands of Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites – are crucial to enabling internet access and other services around the world.

LEO satellites shall provide small latencies enabling interactive services. In addition, the more satellites there are in the constellation the better the overall performance, at least in theory. Network simulations show that more satellites enable high spectrum reuse and thus improved throughputs, as long as the spectrum access is handled in an intelligent way.

A new space race is on-going. For example, SpaceX has now around 2,000 satellites in orbit and plans for ten thousand or more in the end. OneWeb has around 400 satellites in orbit and plans to complete the constellation of more than 600 satellites by the end of this year. In addition, a large number of other players are following close behind, preparing their own constellations.

More satellites enable high spectrum reuse and thus improved throughputs.

Along with SatCom companies, governments are waking up to improve their satellite broadband sovereignty. For example, Europe plans to build an autonomous LEO satellite constellation infrastructure for high-speed internet access for services, such as autonomous driving, emergency services or maritime transport.

The next step after large LEO satellite mega constellations may be so-called ‘multi-orbit’ constellations, which combine several satellite connectivity solutions and their individual strengths like LEO satellites, geostationary (GEO) satellites and even terrestrial 5G networks. This allows for a whole range of new possibilities, such as selecting the best connectivity for each service to match its requirements.

SatCom enters a new era with 5G ecosystems

In March 2022, standardization in the SatCom industry reaches a milestone with the completion of 3GPP Release 17. For the first time, 3GPP is producing a standard which can also be used for SatCom systems, referred to as Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN).
Magister has been actively involved in NTN standardization, given their 15 years of experience in network simulations.

For the first time, 3GPP is producing a standard which can also be used for SatCom systems.

‘5G over satellite’ will enable service coverage enhancement, for example connectivity to more remote hard-to-reach areas, such as seas or mountains. It may also provide 5G from satellite direct to handheld terminals. Some companies have already started working on these solutions. Commercial 5G over satellite solutions are expected to be introduced already in 2022 or latest in 2023.

Even though the Release 17 preparation comes to its end, the standardization work continues. Release 18’s preparation has already started targeting improved NTN performance and usage of higher frequency bands. You can keep track of how this is progressing by following Magister’s blog, publications and social media accounts.

SatCom based IoT access expands

In 2022, satellite based IoT has its own space race. Several technologies like LoRa, Sigfox and 3GPP NB-IoT are being studied for SatCom based IoT.

3GPP NB-IoT technology shall be standardized for NTN within Release 17. The standardization enables several operators, chip vendors, and device manufacturers to bring their IoT products to market. By targeting global, satellite-based IoT devices, 3GPP’s Release 17 will take IoT to the next level.

What future trends interest you the most? Magister Solutions helps tackle the challenges of design by providing simulation support. Simulations allow future mobile and SatCom systems to be properly evaluated and optimized. Read more about our services here and contact us.