BEYOND 5G/6G NETWORKING ARCHITECTURES FOR MULTI-LAYERED NON-TERRESTRIAL NETWORKS AND SMART SATELLITES (ARTES SPL 5G 3A.165)

Description

The objective of the activity is to develop space networking solutions suitable for multi-layered Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) and smart satellites serving as unified part of beyond 5G/6G network. This will include the definition and specification of networkingarchitectures and supporting protocols that will be implemented in a testbed. The resulting specifications will be openly availablefor standardization. Targeted Improvements:- Enabling multi-layered NTN and smart satellites to become viable component of future Beyond 5G (B5G) and 6G networks. Description: The inclusion of NTN in the 3GPP ecosystem opens up opportunities for the developmentof space-based infrastructure providing 5G, Beyond 5G (B5G) and 6G connectivity and services as a complement to terrestrial networks. Major trends towards 6G envisage NTN as an integral part of the core network which is expected to be ultra-flexible, highly dynamic and opportunistically composed. Already, 5G verticals such as autonomous transportation, industrial digital twins, PPDR, video multi-streaming (incl. scalable video, VR/AR) are expressing their interest about how private satellite networking and edge computing aboard can enable distribution, processing and execution of tasks and the gathering and distribution of data from the very edges of the world and back again while achieving quality of service suitable for their operational requirements. Thus, the envisioned integrated space-terrestrial 6G infrastructure transforms from best-effort serving Internet into a sustainable inter-compute system with satellites in multiple layers (vLEO/LEO/MEO/GEO) interconnecting intelligently and forming dynamic topologies. In this vision, the satellite payloads themselves are repurposed dynamically and act as multi-purpose edge computing nodes in space offering both 5G/6G connectivity, computing and storage as a service. Important to note here is the dynamicity of these environments where the overall topology of the network (satellites, ground stations, terrestrial edge nodes and users) can constantly change.This poses challenges tothe traditional networking solutions as the fast-changing topologies can render sub-optimal previously optimal network locations ina short time due to changing load, path characteristics, latency, etc. Further driving the dynamicity is the capability of involvedsatellite and terrestrial nodes to quickly scale-up/down service resources to adapt the supply to the changing demand and thus requiring the same scalability from the underlying network infrastructure. This dynamicity requires a re-thinking on how routing and addressing are done to be able to cope with it and deliver the 6G vision. To achieve this, the activity will: a) develop and test newprotocols for service and semantic routing (i.e., routing beyond the IP locator semantics of the Internet), including solutions directly at Layer 2 but also at Layer 3, b) integrate constraints (or context) into the routing decision for a higher adaptability to service-specific metrics, c) develop micro-service and service function chaining approaches for composing complex services aboard, d)develop and test distributed applications protocols, such as DLTs, e) collective communication, through new and advanced forms ofmulticast techniques, to support multi-satellite node computation, multi-user streaming of all kinds, etc. The activity will address aspects such as how to handle ways of integrating these techniques into ground stations and terminals as well as interoperability aspects with different heterogeneous networks (i.e. Wifi 6/7, LTE/5G). It will also study how to integrate simplified routing aboard, and how to support inter-domain Service Level Agreements and interactions of providers and networks management. The protocols willbe implemented and tested in a software testbed to be developed as part of the activity.

Tender Specifics