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Terrestrial and Non-terrestrial Networks

Different Types of Non-terrestrial Networks_062223A
[Different Types of Non-terrestrial Networks - Microtronics]


- Terrestrial Networks

A terrestrial network (or broadcast network in the US) is a group of radio stations, television stations, or other electronic media outlets that form an agreement to broadcast or broadcast content from a centralized source. For example, ABC (USA), CBC/Radio-Canada (Canada), BBC (UK), ABC (Australia), DW (Germany), KBS (Korea) and NHK (Japan) are examples of local terrestrial TV affiliates offering access to local audiences A program that is broadcast on a signal that your home TV can receive. Networks usually, but not always, operate nationwide; that is, they cover the entire country.

Streaming, webcasting, and webcasting are sometimes considered forms of broadcasting, although there are no terrestrial stations; its practitioners may also be referred to as "broadcasters" or even "broadcast networks."


- Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs)and 3GPP

Non-Terrestrial Networking (NTN) is a relatively new term in the world of communications. NTN refers to networks that provide connectivity via spaceborne vehicles (satellites), airborne platforms such as airships and balloons, and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) platforms (including unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones) . Air-to-ground networks can provide onboard connectivity to aircraft with base stations placed in specific geographic areas. 

Before the term was introduced, the more common term was a network of satellites, or Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites. 

For the integration of NTN, 3GPP initiated Study Release 15 [TR 38.811] on channel models and deployment scenarios. After completing this study, 3GPP followed up Study Release 16 [TR 38.821] on solutions for adapting 5G NR to support NTN.


-  Satellite-based NTN in 5G

Why do we need satellite-based non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in 5G? A: Meet the ubiquitous connectivity needs around the world.

Terrestrial networks using 5G technology are primarily focused on providing coverage and services to users in specific geographic areas. However, mobile broadband services are limited in locations and environments such as rural and remote areas, deserts, deep forests, mountains, oceans, and emergencies involving public safety. NTNs address these issues by providing long-range coverage on the order of tens to hundreds of kilometers.

In 5G, NTNs represent a plethora of connectivity scenarios for satellite-based communications via airborne stations, considering situations such as air-to-ground or drone flight control. These include various satellite-based connectivity scenarios, where the satellites fly at different altitudes and cover areas.


- NB-IoT in Space

Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is a standards-based low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology designed to support a wide variety of new IoT devices and services. NB-IoT significantly improves user equipment power consumption, system capacity, and spectral efficiency, especially in terms of deep coverage. Battery life exceeds 10 years to support multiple use cases.

With the highly anticipated Release 17 release of 3GPP, NB-IoT is now fast becoming the first technology to connect the telecommunications and satellite communications worlds. But will this limit the standard 5G NTN service to IoT-related only until we move on to future versions? Unlikely, as recent developments and analysis suggest that NB-IoT will also be able to support other functions such as text messaging, voice communication and multicast firmware updates. 

The satellite industry is moving from traditional use cases to IoT-oriented solutions, and this trend will intensify as thousands of new satellites are launched into space.



[More to come ...]

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