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Satellites Bolster 5G Through Non-Terrestrial Networks

White Paper

5G presents an inflection point in the evolution of wireless communications technology. It offers massive improvements over 4G in terms of speed, latency, capacity, flexibility, and reliability that will enable new use models. However, the technology carries with it corresponding uptime and coverage demands on networks that have necessitated the creation and utilization of new enabling technologies.

Unlike previous cellular network technologies, which are based exclusively on terrestrial network infrastructure, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is planning to make 5G into a network that incorporates satellites to augment terrestrial 5G networks. These non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) will extend the reach of 5G to regions lacking terrestrial infrastructure. NTNs can also augment service continuity for machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices and bolster the reliability of mission-critical communications. They will also reinforce 5G coverage stability for passengers on moving platforms like planes and trains.

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