Answer to 5G connectivity conundrum could be written in the stars

5G, News, Answer to 5G connectivity conundrum could be written in the stars

In our latest contribution, Stephen Krajewski, Vice-President of Marketing at Sigma Systems, considers the role satellites could play in supporting 5G connectivity as the technology becomes more widespread.

5G is coming, and everyone wants in. From GPS-controlled farm machinery to streaming Netflix on smartphones, the hype has spread far and wide. But how can operators promise so much when countries like the UK will not be able to sunset 2G networks until 2030 because the underlying connectivity underpins services like smart metering and the Emergency Services Network? And what hope do those in rural areas have when it comes to having access to next-generation 5G services? Perhaps the answers are not to be found here on earth, but in the stars.

There are currently around 2,000 satellites orbiting the earth, used by governments and private companies for a variety of military, meteorological and communications purposes. This number is set to increase rapidly as communications providers begin to awaken to the support role satellites could play in a 5G world.

Companies like ViaSat, Inmarsat and Verizon have been using geostationary satellites to provide in-flight, defense and internet connections for many years. However, geostationary satellites generally have an unavoidable signal lag between 500 and 700 milliseconds — a far cry from the 1 millisecond goal of 5G — but satellites in lower orbits could provide the answer.

Satellites operating in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at 8,000 kilometers, have less than 200 milliseconds of latency, but the lowest of the proposed Low Earth Orbit (LEO) systems at 160 kilometers (equivalent to a round trip from the Golden Gate Bridge to Apple Park in Cupertino) target 50 milliseconds or less. Investing in satellite technology to support low-latency communications could therefore be a big win for CSPs as they roll out 5G. Whilst it may be too costly alone, partnering with existing satellite providers could be the answer.

The other benefit of using satellite technology to support 5G is the ability to single-handedly cover entire continents. 5G will require a lot of base stations and masts; in sparsely populated rural areas, or developing countries where infrastructure is limited, this will prove problematic.

In an interview, Tom Stroup, President of the Washington-based Satellite Industry Association, said that “satellites can bring 5G to areas where terrestrial connectivity companies consider it too expensive to build fiber-optic cables…[and]…rural areas especially stand to benefit from satellite connectivity.” So whilst fibre and 5G masts are connecting cars in Copenhagen and enabling Netflix streaming in New York City, it could be satellites that monitor crops in Montana and connect calls in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the new, interconnected digital age, the future of 5G may be out of this world.

5G, News, Answer to 5G connectivity conundrum could be written in the stars

Stephen Krajewski

Stephen Krajewski is Vice-President of Marketing at Sigma Systems, A Hansen Technologies Company, which is transforming the way service providers innovate and launch new digital services.

The vital role business plays in the business intelligence equation

Phillip Smith • 03rd December 2021

As organizations continue turning their attention to technology advancements, to maintain some form of ‘business as usual’, there has never been a greater need for companies to truly understand the data they hold, and how to interpret it. Phillip Smith, the chief architect at workplace data analytics firm Tiger, explains more.

2,500 years of threat intelligence and its value continues to...

Anthony Perridge • 01st December 2021

Anthony Perridge, VP International at ThreatQuotient discusses how threat intelligence has evolved to form an essential aspect of modern-day cybersecurity. By harking back to the practices of our ancestors, today’s threat hunters can take inspiration about evaluating threat data to maximize the best possible decisions.

The gaming industry’s latest challenge: DDoS protection

Babur Khan • 30th November 2021

As the industry faces a rise in DDoS threats, it is time that gaming companies truly prioritise cybersecurity and business resiliency. In his latest article, Babur Khan,Technical Marketing Engineer at A10 Networks, lays out a framework for the industry to do just this, securing their customers and their own success against the tide of cyberattacks.

The Best Ten Rated Cloud Security Management Options For Business

Erin Laurenson • 24th November 2021

Cloud Security programs that can carry out safety procedures and address or flag potential high-risk elements are now critical, allowing businesses to function normally without fearing a potential breach. To help you find the best Cloud management and security system for your business, we’ve done the research and found the top systems presently available on...