Hispasat launches projects to drive satellite integration in 5G, 6G development
Iberian and Latin American satellite operator announces three programmes designed to facilitate the standardisation of space communications usage and enable 5G, and potentially 6G, to have universal deployment
As it continues to deliver satellite-based communications across its markets in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, in particular bridging the digital divide that exists between urban and rural communities, Hispasat has launched three innovation projects aimed at integrating terrestrial and satellite communications in the development of 5G-6G technologies.
The operator said that with the Trantor, 5G-Stardust and Aroma 3G projects, its objective is to ensure the universal deployment of networks of this type so they are also available in remote or less-densely populated areas, and even in maritime or aerial environments while standardising the technological development of the satellite.
Hispasat said that to date, 5G technology has focused on the development of standard and interoperable technology between providers, manufacturers and operators – in other words, to allow the same technical parameters to be used at all times to facilitate people’s day-to-day life.
However, the technological development of the satellite sector has traditionally been determined by the complexity of its systems and very specific use cases. As a result, the operator believes many of its offerings have a significant presence of functionalities from each manufacturer – and even from each operator – which makes interoperability between multiple networks difficult.
Hispasat said it will bring to these three projects not only its experience in the definition, operation and marketing of satellite services, but also its vision as an operator for the development of new services and technologies. It will also provide the resources of its teleports and its fleet of satellites for the demonstration of 5G satellite technology over real links in space.
The Trantor project encompasses seven companies, namely, CTTC, SRS, INSTER, Indra, Fraunhofer, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Université du Luxembourg and Hispasat. It is funded by Horizon Europe – the EU’s leading research and innovation funding initiative of which 6G comms development is a key part – which aims to reduce the European Union’s dependence on third countries to achieve global internet access through the adoption of 5G and 6G satellite or non-terrestrial networks.
The project consists of the development of dynamic components to enable multi-band, multi-orbit and multi-satellite connectivity services, new capabilities for future generations of on-board processors and user equipment for these advanced networks.
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Also part of the Horizon Europe programme, 5G-STARDUST is an international initiative made up of 10 companies, namely DLR, Thales Alenia Space, Orange, Software Radio Systems, AW2S, Martel Innovate, CTTC, CNIT, Fraunhofer and Hispasat. It will investigate the development of new services based on ubiquitous radio access, taking advantage of advances in space transmissions and the development of new on-board satellite systems.
AROMA3D is a national project in which several Spanish companies are collaborating, led by CTTC, and financed through funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. It’s aimed at investigating advanced technologies such as large-scale satellite-based multiple-input multiple-output services or on-board processing based on edge computing.
This project marks the first in-orbit validation of pre-6G non-terrestrial networks, thus anticipating the requirements defined by the 3GPP standard.