Satellite services in Africa for a 5G future

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Why mention the satellite in a 5G context? VSAT is slow, expensive and has a latency problem, but maybe not. If you still remember the satellite networks of the 1980s and 1990s, that was true - but today this is just a myth and is no longer valid.

Extensive and fundamental developments in space networks and terrestrial equipment have completely changed the landscape. The satellites available in Africa will soon have a capacity of 1Tbps and will provide connectivity at latencies below 40msec.

In the 5G ecosystem, broadband via satellite and satellite networks will have a key role to play. 5G is not just a “next generation” mobile network standard, but a “network of networks” that will drive growth in the connected world of Internet of Things (IoT), always-on broadband, smart cities and connected cars.

Satellite internet integrates Wi-Fi, mobile, fiber, wireless, terrestrial and access networks. In this hyperconnected world, the satellite has the following main resources that will boost and support the connected world, that is:

  • Ubiquity,
  • Mobility,
  • Simultaneous transmission
  • Safety.
  • Illustration of 5G networks

Leveraging these key attributes of satellite and VSAT networks can support the following main usage scenarios for 5G:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband
  • Massive machine-type communication
  • Ultra reliable communications
  • Sub-1msec latency satellites

Current satellite internet distribution networks are a proven solution for distribution and are serving existing mobile networks in many parts of the world for 2G / 3G. This will be expanded with the new high capacity satellites that will support 4G and 5G mobile networks.

In the planned global “connected future”, the 5G architecture will continue to develop and grow with the initial successes led by mobile network operators. As requirements expand to more fully address key 5G elements, such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine type communication (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low latency (<1msec) communication (ULRC) , all networks will begin to be integrated.

The demand to meet these key elements will be effectively mapped to current and planned advances in satellite constellations (LEO, MEO and GEO) to develop connected global environments that effectively leverage all technological advances.

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