Satellite Communications for 5G

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For the first time in Russia, a 5G base station was connected to the network core via a satellite channel. Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) have tested the operation of a fifth-generation private network on domestic software via a geostationary communications satellite. This is the first time a domestic satellite has been used in the interests of 5G. In the long run, this solution will provide prospective 5G service coverage for enterprises in remote areas.

The solution for private 5G networks (private 5G) supporting open OpenRAN standards was developed by Skoltech. The base station was connected to the network core via the Express-80 spacecraft using the facilities of the Shabolovka Technical Center and the Dubna Space Communications Center of RSCC.

During the tests, the video content with high quality 4K HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision was transmitted and played back in the 5G network. The ability of systems to ensure the required quality of functionality and services in the exchange of data was demonstrated, including the transfer of multimedia information, voice and video through user terminals.

The case in question will eventually ensure the deployment of private 5G networks in remote areas that are not connected to the trunking networks. If satellite coverage is available, base stations can connect to the network core at a distance via the geostationary RSCC spacecraft.

As Alexey Volin, General Director of RSCC, puts it, the cooperation is aimed at creating solutions that ensure the technological sovereignty of the Russian Federation in the area of 5G/6G integration and satellite telecommunications based on the development and implementation of domestic system and application hardware and software solutions. Joining efforts and resources of the parties aimed at developing and using advanced, innovative engineering solutions, software products in the field of 5G/6G and satellite telecommunications opens up new opportunities for the integration of domestic 5G networks and satellite communications systems.

Vitaly Shub, head of the Skoltech 5G Lead Research Center (LRC), notes that the tests conducted and the practical results obtained mark the first step in implementing Skoltech's long-term strategy for developing cellular communication systems and their integration with the space segment. The ultimate goal is to create a uniform domestic 5.5G and 6G class terrestrial-space and airborne network, in strict compliance with 3GPP releases and ITU plans.

Yuri Prokhorov, First Deputy Director General of the RSCC, emphasized that these results were obtained on the eve of the 55th anniversary of the Russian Satellite Communications Company and are quite natural, given the commitment of the RSCC to searching for and implementing new innovative solutions. Collaborative creation and implementation of new developments, solutions, software products and services for 5G/6G networks and satellite telecommunications based on advanced Russian equipment, the 5G OpenRAN software and hardware complex of Skoltech and the RSCC ground and space infrastructure allows the stakeholders to more effectively solve problems, with consideration of their strategic interests, and the telecommunications industry as a whole.