5G New Radio Evolution Meets Satellite Communications: Opportunities, Challenges, and Solutions

03/27/2019
by   Xingqin Lin, et al.
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The 3rd generation partnership project (3GPP) completed the first global 5th generation (5G) new radio (NR) standard in its Release 15, paving the way for making 5G a commercial reality. So, what is next in NR evolution to further expand the 5G ecosystem? Enabling 5G NR to support satellite communications is one direction under exploration in 3GPP. There has been a resurgence of interest in providing connectivity from space, stimulated by technology advancement and demand for ubiquitous connectivity services. The on-going evolution of 5G standards provides a unique opportunity to revisit satellite communications. In this article, we provide an overview of use cases and a primer on satellite communications. We identify key technical challenges faced by 5G NR evolution for satellite communications and give some preliminary ideas for how to overcome them.

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