CORDIS - EU research results

5G AgiLe and fLexible integration of SaTellite And cellulaR

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - 5G-ALLSTAR (5G AgiLe and fLexible integration of SaTellite And cellulaR)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-10-31

5G Communication Networks are today at the stage of maturity of developing key enabling technologies for extended proof-of-concepts (PoC). Although standardization of 5G is yet to be finalized, 5G players already reached a general agreement on key enabling technologies, architecture and deployment scenarios of 5G networks. The 5G community is now looking for translating 5G use cases, vertical industries requirements and ambitions in adopting 5G, into viable business cases. However, the support of 5G new services and seamless connectivity across various vertical industries and very diverse use cases, still requires the integration of multiple access technologies. The 5G ALL-STAR project builds on the outcomes and the cooperation experience of 5GCHAMPION to design, develop, evaluate and trial multi-connectivity based on multiple access, combining cellular and satellite access technologies to support seamless reliable and ubiquitous broadband services. The project will develop a set of technologies and validate system interoperability to provide global connectivity and support mission critical applications of interest in both European and Korean regions. To this end, 5G ALL-STAR will develop selected technologies targeting a set of PoCs to validate and demonstrate in heterogeneous real setup: i) 5G cellular mmWave access system for providing broadband and low-latency 5G services, ii) new radio based feasibility of satellite access for providing broadband and reliable 5G services, iii) multi-connectivity support based on cellular and satellite access, iv) spectrum sharing between cellular and satellite access. In addition, the project will actively contribute to v) global 5G standardization including 3GPP and ETSI focusing on multi-RAT interoperability and New Radio based satellite access, vi) creation of a cross-regional lasting synergy for 5G research, innovation and commercialization through value proposition assessment for vertical industries.
During the first year of the project, all the work packages (WP) started, according to the 5G-ALLSTAR description of work. The main achievements of the project in the first year concern WP2, dealing with use cases and requirements, whereas the work performed in WP3, WP4 and WP5, dealing with spectrum sharing, multi-connectivity and proof-of-concept (PoC) demonstrations, respectively, is preparatory for the outcomes expected in the second and third years. Concerning WP6, dealing with dissemination and standardization activities, a big effort was put in the standardization area and 10 publications were submitted during the first period; the number of publications is foreseen to increase in the next reporting period since the technical WPs (WP3, WP4 and WP5) will start producing results. More in detail, the technical achievements can be summarized as follows:

WP2: Use cases, KPI and architecture
- Identification of 5G-ALLSTAR potential use cases and KPIs.
- Development of the 5G-ALLSTAR architectural framework, with the definition of the basic system architecture and functionalities.
- Identification of the key components and interface design.
- Identification of the enabling technologies.
- Definition of service scenarios/applications and KPIs for the PoC.
- Business assessment for vertical markets empowerment.

WP3: Spectrum analysis and channel models
- Development of a common framework for modelling satellite and cellular channel via two methods: a geometry-based stochastic method and a ray-tracing method.
- Identification of spectrum bands for satellite / cellular spectrum sharing.
- Investigation on the interference occurring from spectrum sharing between satellite and cellular systems.

WP4: Multi-connectivity functional architecture and algorithms
- Design of the functional architecture supporting the multi-connectivity.
- Preliminary identification and design of multi-connectivity algorithms.
- Design of the functional modules able to support innovative Quality-of-Experience solutions.

WP5: Definition of the PoC activities
- Specification of the European Testbed of 5G cellular and satellite access networks
- Preliminary definition of the European trial platform and first contacts with CNES CESARS for the actual satellite resource provisioning.

WP6: Dissemination and standardisation activities
- Dissemination of the project results (8 conference papers and 2 journal papers), organization and participation to workshops, special sessions and seminaries.
- Participation in standardization activities, with contributions to the study of the enablers for coordinated satellite/cellular radio resource management.
5G-ALLSTAR is expected to contribute to the progress beyond the state-of-the-art in various areas of research: spectrum sharing and interference management, multi-connectivity for increased data rate and improved reliability, Inter-RAT spectrum sharing through Radio Resource management, testbed prototyping for 5G, Open Air Interface (OAI) and prototyping of 5G NR based satellite access.
5G ALL-STAR will go beyond the terrestrial usage of 5G New Radio and will adapt New Radio for usage over a satellite link. The necessary adaptations for New Radio are currently scope of a Study Item in 3GPP Radio Access Network (3GPP RAN).
The 5G ALL-STAR project will put emphasis on the integration framework, aiming at the integration of various potential access networks (e.g. satellite access, cellular access based on 5G NR or 4G) under a common core network for 5G, as well as the integration of different access networks across regions. Potential impacts are expected in the global interoperability demonstrations for 5G networks, in joint contributions to global 5G standards specifications in relevant organisations (e.g. 3GPP, ITU-R), in new business model development enabled by the trials with joint demonstration across regions (EU and KR).
The social impact derives from the 5G ALL-STAR approach which will enable users to be able to access services anywhere, anytime with enhanced radio link robustness and enhanced service coverage. Users will be equipped and interacting with various applications through broadband, narrow-band, Internet-of-Things and Machine-Type devices which are operating seamlessly, simultaneously and often unnoticed by the user. The user will be able to focus on the final service relying on an optimum system configuration, specially tailored and optimized to the user’s specific instantaneous context.
The economic impact will be a challenge as the change of a technological generation from 4G to 5G enables new business models. The 5G ALL-STAR approach will not only show a substantial impact on the future standardization of 5G communications but also lead to new disruptive business models, stakeholders and opportunities for entrepreneurial innovation. For example, multi-connectivity of cellular and satellite systems can support applications with highly reliable QoS, reliable communications for public safety applications, low-latency and reliable inter-continental interoperable services, etc. This will facilitate ubiquitous, reliable, seamless and broadband 5G services even in the case where users are spread across regions.