ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1

Price Range

200-500 KEURO


Objective:The objective of the activity is to demonstrate the potential of Carrier Aggregation (CA) technology for various satellite communications networks (MSS, FSS) operating in various frequency bands (C-, Ku, Ka- and Q/V-bands). Carrier aggregation needs to be addressed at different levels of the communication stack:

  • Physical layer (e.g. multi-carrier transmit/receive, non-linear satellite channel, guard band setting);
  • RF (e.g. antenna bandwidth, Max output power, spectrum emission mask, adjacent channel leakage ratio, spurious emissions);
  • Payload (e.g. impact on the payload channel size and filling rate) and on-board receiver architecture;
  • MAC (e.g. Resource allocation approach/flexibility, transponder traffic fillings, beam handover control, complexity of processing).

Targeted Improvements:

  • Increased practical & peak data rates.
  • Leverage all spectrum assets by allowing to fill unused gaps in transponders.
  • Simplifies multi-band traffic management over non-contiguous spectrum allocations.
  • Improves latency (and QoS in general) throughload balancing as the traffic can be accommodated by multiple smaller resource blocks instead of a single larger one.
  • Enables interference management with intelligent allocations of resources as the assignment of multiple carriers to each user creates an additional axis in the resource allocation.

Description: Carrier Aggregation (CA), that is the association of multiple carriers to/from a single user, is a key enabling technology in terrestrial radio communications networks (e.g. LTE) with the first CA chipset already available in the terrestrial market.

As satellite spectrum is a finite resource and user expectations for interactive data services are becoming increasingly sophisticated, intelligent allocation of resources and the optimum use of transponders is mandatory.  Carrieraggregation (CA) enables the optimal exploitation of spectrum resources and transponders and leads to higher peak and average datarates for user terminals (e.g. in hot spots).

CA can be of high interest in scenarios where a single terminal can satisfy its aggregate leased capacity demand from multiple carriers occupying spectrum in different transponders. This approach could minimize gaps in the satellite transponders that cannot be utilized for other services. It can also lead to a substantial increase in the delivereddata rate, up to levels not possible when only a single carrier is employed.

The benefits of CA come at the cost of complexity in the satellite terminal (at various levels) that need to be traded-off. For example, the proposed study shall identify and analyse which elements of the transmit and receive chain (e.g. tuner, SSPA) need to be augmented, as well as identify what processing is required at the physical and MAC layer. Additionally, the layer of re-combining data from multiple carriers (e.g. at GSE level) shall alsobe an area of study. The activity shall:

  • Define the operational scenarios, system architectures, type of terminals, and physical layer techniques that are more relevant to CA.
  • Assess the impact on the user terminal and on-board receiver architecture.
  • Develop the ‘Carrier Aggregation Demonstrator' carrying out emulations of carrier aggregation at the physical, RF and MAC layer over multiple loadedsatellite transponders.
  • Test the ‘Carrier Aggregation Demonstrator' and obtain relevant performance metrics.

Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and R&D entities in ESA programmes".

Tender Specifics