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ICT News & Events
July 14, 2022

OneWeb demonstrates a full end-to-end link with their LEO satellite constellation and 5G/6G terrestrial hub

OneWeb demonstrates a full end-to-end link with their LEO satellite constellation and 5G/6G terrestrial hub

Another significant milestone was reached in push to create a 5G end-to-end link for consumers. OneWeb, together with the European Space Agency (ESA), SatixFy, and CGI, achieved a significant milestone after successfully demonstrating a high-speed, low-latency full 5G end-to-end link with OneWeb’s LEO satellite constellation and the 5G/6G Hub at ESA / ECSAT’s Harwell centre.  

The Sunrise Partnership Program, which is a pilot program tasked with providing solutions to enable users to purchase multimedia content via the web and to have that content downloaded by satellite.

The project concerns the development and operation of a platform which can deliver varied content to users in Europe and, eventually, to nearly all major cities around the world. Content providers will be able to broadcast material as and when needed and the cost of broadcasting will be reduced still further as the audience is widened to cover Europe and the rest of the world. The dramatic increase in potential audience size and the reduction in the cost of broadcasting mean that more businesses can now take advantage of this new technology to deliver their material.

Under the Sunrise Partnership Project, with support from the UK Space Agency, ESA and OneWeb have partnered with antenna technology provider SatixFy UK and 5G services provider CGI to develop its electronically steered arrays into the 5G user terminal, offering an extremely compact solution for mobility services.

The Sunrise Partnership Project collaboration achieved a breakthrough performance on OneWeb’s LEO network.  This new super compact user terminal will undergo further testing to explore its full capabilities with LEO and GEO links for mobility services. After these tests are completed, the user terminal will be “fine-tuned’ and optimised for different mobility use cases, targeting a low cost and effective system to provide OneWeb commercial services for land, maritime, and aviation markets.

The demonstration on June 28 involved a super compact satellite terminal mounted on a car, embarking a 5G Radio Access Network and connecting to 5G user devices. The terminal pioneered a state-of-the-art DVB-S2X modem based on SatixFy ASIC with high throughput. It was the world’s first 5G backhaul communications with an electronic steerable antenna connected to LEO satellites.

The user terminal antenna was also used to link simultaneously to a GEO satellite at an altitude of 36000 km, and OneWeb LEO satellites orbiting at 1,200 km (a thirtieth of the distance), with multiple simultaneous beams and electronic tracking. Live video and audio streaming took place from a GEO satellite, with 4K UHDTV videos being played.

This 5G end-to-end link validates not only the communication over OneWeb’s satellites: it also successfully demonstrates the full integration of space and ground networks using 5G links, with low latency and very high speed and quality performance.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “This is a world first which demonstrates the vital role that space can play in improving connectivity and the value that companies like OneWeb and Satixfy bring to the UK. The results of this trial will help transform how satellite and terrestrial networks interact, accelerating the development of technologies such as connected vehicles and autonomous cars. It is a great example of why we're supporting ESA's state-of-the-art 5G/6G hub in Harwell, which will create new commercial opportunities and catalyse investment into the UK's thriving space sector.”

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