5G to usher in next wave of satellite communications

05 Jun 2018

Augmenting 5G mobile networks with next-generation satellite capabilities may help satellite operators to become a major player in the emerging 5G ecosystem, according analytics firm GlobalData.

“The next generations of satellites – high throughput satellites (HTS) – are being built on open architectures. They are much more flexible and easier to integrate into 5G networks,” said Glen Hunt, principal analyst telecom technology and software analyst at GlobalData.

“With HTS, satellite operators can expand beyond rural broadband and become an integral part of the 5G ecosystem.”

He said sluggish speeds, high latency and lower reliability compared to traditional fiber and DSL options have restricted satellite’s role to being a provider last resort, relegated to serve ultra-rural areas beyond the reach of other technologies.

However, with the advent of upgraded satellite technology, the capacity and performance requirements are expected to be addressed in the 5G era.

“HTS deployments are going to be dramatically less expensive than prior generations of satellite due to a combination of factors including new advances in launch vehicles, miniaturization of components and correspondingly lower power consumption,” Hunt noted.

The standards governing true 5G services, likely to be finalized by Q3 2018, are much more ‘satellite-friendly’ than 4G LTE and 3G networks.

“The timing may be just right – open network architectures, coupled by a broad spirit of cooperation between satellite, wireless and fixed operators may help usher in the next wave of satellite communications,” Hunt concluded.

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