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Preliminary analysis have shown that the NB-IoT standard can be used by satellite systems in non-geostationary orbits under certain constraints. However, to enable the integration of user sensors employing this technology, it is necessary to develop an on-board evolved node B (eNB) capable of using a standard not originally conceived for satellite communications with adaptation and additional features dictated by the scenarios. Moreover, the eNB is preferably compatible with small satellites platforms in terms of mass, power and volume since these platforms are usually the ones selected to provide M2M/IoT services. Finally, it is also important to develop and propose UU (radio interface between UE and eNB) adaptations that would allow maximizing the efficiency of a satellite system.
The goal of the project is the development of a demonstrator in which communication between an NB-IoT user and an eNB satellite is functionally verified.
The state-of-the-art technology for NB-IoT is critically revised, referring to integration with satellite systems and associated technical requirements expected by the demonstrator.
The project aims at developing a demonstrator where the communication between a NB-IoT user and the satellite eNB is functionally verified. The main challenges are:
Development and validation of the adaptations to the UU’s protocol stack (e.g., PHY, MAC, RLC, PDPC, and RRC layers) to make the NB-IoT radio standard viable over satellite.
Development of an on board eNB capable of supporting the adapted 3GPP NB-IoT standard within the mass, power and volume constraints of a small platform (<12U). The eNB integrated in the demonstrator is capable of emulating different scenarios as well as the main limiting factors in the telecommunications channel, with reference to Doppler shift/rate, mobility, possible shadowing/multipath, in order to assess performance under realistic conditions.
The project features include:
An high level and preliminary architecture is shown in the following picture:
The main sub-systems are:
The main planning of the general tasks is reported below:
With the following relevant milestones:
The Project activities have been started on April 1st 2020.