AccelerComm, TTP team for regenerative O-RAN satellite 5G

AccelerComm, TTP team for regenerative O-RAN satellite 5G

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

AccelerComm has teamed with TTP, RF DSP and Radisys for a reference design of a more complex O-RAN satellite 5G basestation using regenerative protocols.

The Regenerative 5G RAN reference platform for deployment on low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite networks is based on AccelerCmm’s Layer 1 5G IP, RF DSP Lower-Phy modem, Radisys software and TTP’s beam scheduler.

Together with additional technology from partners the platform is a 5G regenerative gNodeB design to support high-performance 5G services in the challenging environment of a Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) for satellite-based eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband) and IoT (Internet of Things) services.

It also includes developments in beam-to-cell mapping, beam forming, NTN beam management and well-defined interfaces to satellite communications infrastructure. 

In a typical LEO deployment, a constellation of fast-moving satellites covers a wide geographical area using a large number of beams per satellite to cover a multitude of subscribers. The 5G Regenerative NTN design splits the gNB with a distributed unit (DU) on the satellite payload with a ground-based centralized unit (CU) and 5GC (which is the Open RAN 3GPP option 2). 

This can handle unique regenerative NTN-specific requirements of extremely high mobility with frequency re-association between the DU, GW and CU serving a region and large-sized cells spanning multiple countries requiring country-specific CN routing. This has to fit into a satellite system that is highly constrained in size, weight, and power, and must be able to work in a hostile space environment.  

The O-RAN compliant gNodeB uses the Radisys split NTN-capable CU, DU software with the LEOphy IP from Accelercomm in Southampton and the Low-Phy Layer 1 modem from RF DSP in the US, combined with the DFE and Beam Scheduler from TTP in Cambridge. 

The Radisys CU/DU supports optimized mechanisms for handling signaling load due to high mobility, along with a power-optimized scalable software that manages the varying system requirements of beams and users.  LEOphy has dedicated features to overcome the specific challenges of NTN channels, such as high path losses, differential delays, Doppler shift, long propagation delays, and rapid fluctuations in signal amplitude and phase caused by atmospheric effects.

As a result, it ensures a high-reliability link without having to resort to lower coding rates and low-order modulation schemes, thereby maximising spectral efficiency. TTP’s DFE supports Crest Factor Reduction (CFR) to improve the efficiency of the RF power amplifier and its Beam Scheduler enables optimized beam hopping and switching functionality to maximize network capacity based on real-time traffic demands.  

The Radisys 5GC software is available on the Kubernetes container platform and small form-factor x86 and ARM boards that can handle both NR-NTN and IoT devices. 

 “Deploying 5G gNodeB on a LEO satellite payload, brings a unique set of challenges for satellites passing over at extremely high speeds, including large cell coverage optimization, high doppler handling and users’ mobility,” said Munish Chhabra, SVP and General Manager, Software and Services at Radisys.

“With onboard regenerative deployments, the complexities compound. Onboard power and resource constraints require low compute, storage footprint CU, DU software and performance-efficient beam hopping that goes beyond 3GPP specifications. Radisys is excited to partner with AccelerComm, RFDSP and TTP to define and develop an NTN solution addressing the regenerative gNodeB challenges and enable their customers to deploy LEO constellation satellite services.” 

“There has been an explosion in interest around combining satellite and traditional mobile communications systems,” said Rob Barnes, Chief Marketing Officer at AccelerComm. “However, for satellite 5G to be truly successful there are a number of performance and efficiency challenges which have to be overcome. Solving these requires building on the existing 3GPP technologies to create a tailored solution built to deal with the unique challenges of operating around a thousand kilometres from Earth at speeds of over 7km per second, all while dealing with power and resource constraints. We are delighted to be working with our partners Radisys, RFDSP and TTP to develop this high-performance solution which will open-up a whole new market for delivering 5G services from space.” 

“A 5G NTN LEO regenerative gNodeB deployment presents unique challenges when compared to Terrestrial gNodeB. In order to serve the number of beams and support the density of subscribers required, the gNodeB will have to be heavily optimised and tightly integrated with the overall payload functionality,” said Peter Kibutu, TTP’s Advanced Technology Lead NTN. “TTP is pleased to partner with AccelerComm, RFDSP and Radisys to define a highly scalable and low power gNodeB solution, that will enable LEO operators to efficiently deliver 5G NTN services.” 

 “Recognizing the growing demand for 5G physical layers for non-terrestrial applications and their unique requirements, based on our conformance-tested 5G NR low PHY for terrestrial networks, we built a fully-featured 5G low PHY solution for NTN including a unified interface with high PHY for both options 6 and 7.2x, Doppler shift compensation, digital front-end design, beamforming, and control of multiple simultaneous beams for maximal spectral efficiency,” said Prof. Ping Liang, founder and CEO of RF DSP.;;;

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