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Newtec CEO: 5G and the Future of Satellite Service Providers

By Thomas Van den Driessche | March 15, 2019
Newtec CEO Thomas Van den Driessche. Photo: Newtec

Newtec CEO Thomas Van den Driessche. Photo: Newtec

5G will ultimately transform many aspects of our lives, connecting us in a way we could have never dreamed of, and pushing network boundaries to enable new applications and services across every industry. It will bring about a radical transformation of our towns and cities, work lives, homes, and services such as health, transportation, and security.

5G will lead to a paradigm shift towards a landscape dominated by wireless connectivity. Major architectural changes are already taking place to accompany this shift. Virtualization will be pivotal. Architectures leveraging Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN), both at the core and edge of the network, are being deployed. They will provide increased computing power, scalability, reduced operational costs, and creative business models to enable differentiation.

Satellite communications will be an essential part of the 5G infrastructure. The satellite transport conduit will be integrated into the overall available communication map. Service providers will need to provide seamless connectivity between terrestrial and satellite. Traffic will be dynamically steered to the best transport options available according to bandwidth, latency, network conditions, and other application-specific requirements. A suite of orchestrators will make this steering decision. This interworking between terrestrial and satellite is now well recognized and promoted in the 3rdGeneration Partnership Project (3GPP) standards, for example.

Preparation for 5G is well underway at Newtec. We have signed a joint statement with the European Space Agency (ESA) and a number of industrial companies to carry out trials. These will demonstrate the use of satellite communications capabilities integrated within the 5G environment, the interoperability of networks and the functionality, performance and benefits offered through the use of satellite. A first phase will leverage existing space and ground segment assets and newer developments will be trialed after 2019.

Newtec is also a key player in the Satis5 initiative which aims to provide a testbed showcasing major technology progress and demonstrating the benefits of satellite technology for the main 5G use cases. The testbed includes live, over the air Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite connectivity, in addition to laboratory emulations and simulations, and uses a federation of terrestrial locations. The activity drives the full integration of satellite in 5G through open and standard solutions, facilitated primarily through the 3GPP standardization.

All these initiatives leverage the Newtec Dialog platform, which enables the high efficiency, high performance, virtualization, and multiservice capability paramount for 5G.

Newtec has also recently announced that it is collaborating with Wind River to utilize its Titanium Cloud virtualization platform to develop a Newtec 5G solution based on Newtec Dialog.

3GPP has defined a service-based architecture where flexibility and dynamic adjustments are the key drivers to meet performance and cost requirements. This architecture defines network functions which can be triggered by other services, leveraging virtualization and network slicing.

Wind River’s complete Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) software platform infrastructure will help Newtec Dialog leapfrog these 5G requirements. The Titanium Cloud platform delivers the features needed to successfully build and deploy a virtualized network running multiple Virtual Machines. It also promises lower-cost, highly flexible, and scalable infrastructure and will provide Newtec customers with the ability to get better service access anywhere in the world. Customers and service providers will be able to scale their services to quickly address changing requirements.

5G is going to revolutionize the way in which we communicate. At Newtec, we are committed to playing our role in a globally connected 5G world.