Space 5G Connects Japan and Europe – Parabolic Arc

PARIS (ESA PR) — Engineers have connected Japan and Europe via space-based next-generation 5G telecommunications links. This is the first time that such an intercontinental connection has been established between Europe and Japan.

Next-generation 5G technology is poised to deliver fast, high-volume data connectivity to fuel society’s digital transformation. When people and things travel overseas on planes or ships, telecommunications satellites will play a crucial role in keeping them connected. International connectivity – for example, between a 5G network located at a company’s headquarters and those of its subsidiaries around the world – could also use satellites for communication.

Being able to seamlessly switch between terrestrial 5G connections and satellites is key to ensuring that everything and everyone stays connected wherever they go.

Japanese engineers have collaborated with their European counterparts to test several business scenarios that will require such smooth transitions.

They first tested whether it was possible to send high-definition broadcast-quality 4K video through space to simulate the passenger experience on board an aircraft. The long distance between Japan and Europe introduces a time lag that makes connecting more difficult than it would be over shorter distances.

They found that even under the influence of such delays, it was possible to send the video from Japan to a data center in Europe using the satellite seamlessly.

Engineers then tested whether they could send Internet of Things data – such as that generated by sensors operating on an offshore oil rig, for example – via satellite from Japan to Europe. Again, the test passed.

Finally, they measured the network quality of each segment of each of the transmissions and validated the successful integration between terrestrial 5G networks and satellite. Additionally, they demonstrated the system’s ability to support service requirements, proving that 5G intercontinental satellite and terrestrial networks are an important option for campus networks and for highly distributed network deployments.

The experiments took place in January and February 2022.

The tests are part of an ongoing agreement between ESA and the National Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (NTIC) in Japan to work together on 5G satellite communications for the benefit of European and Japanese citizens and industries.

Other members of the collaboration include: EURESCOM, a telecommunications research and development organization based in Heidelberg, Germany; the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) in Berlin, Germany; the Japan Radio Society (JRC), a manufacturer and seller of radio communication equipment based in Tokyo, Japan; Japanese satellite operator and broadcaster SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation; and the Nakao Research Laboratory to University of Tokyo.

Hiroaki Harai, Managing Director of the Network Research Institute at NICT, said, “We are proud to be part of this successful international collaboration between Japan and Europe. Using the outcome of this 5G satellite experiment, we believe will drive the development of communication and networking technologies to connect satellites, high-altitude platform systems, and drones. The three-dimensional network that connects multiple layers from the earth to the ocean, air and space will enable communication in all fields and realize various communications.

David Kennedy, Director of Eurescom, said: “Eurescom believes in the convergence of satellite and terrestrial communications in a seamless 5G infrastructure and has supported projects and initiatives to enable this convergence since the conception of 5G. We are proud to be part of this successful collaboration between Europe and Japan, and we look forward to new experiences to improve the reach, capabilities and ubiquity of 5G.

Thomas Magedanz, Business Unit Manager Software Networks at Fraunhofer FOKUS, said, “Seeing is believing! It is only through hands-on testing enabling the practical generation of expertise through technology trials that confidence in the latest 5G technologies can be achieved. This is just the beginning of the journey to 6G, where an even closer convergence of network technologies is envisioned, as we witness the rapid rise of industrial campus networks demanding connectivity.

Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “I am proud to be part of the first collaborative experiment with Japanese players in which a terrestrial 5G signal has been supplemented by a satellite connection on a single site. long distance – and to work in international collaboration with industry and the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. Next-generation communication technologies are essential to keep everyone and everything connected at all times. »

ESA supports experiments through its Space for 5G/6G strategic program line, which is part of the agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program, and the SATis5 project.

Part of this research result was obtained from the commissioned research “Research and development of satellite-terrestrial integration technology beyond 5G” by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology , in Japan.