Inmarsat completes 5G/satellite IoT compatibility test with MediaTek

PHOTO: ESA - J. Huart

Inmarsat reports that it has completed a successful trial to test the use of 5G Internet of Things (IoT) devices with its satellite network, in conjunction with semiconductor company MediaTek.

The test involved Inmarsat’s geostationary Alphasat L-band satellite establishing a bi-directional link with a MediaTek satellite-enabled standard narrowband NB-IoT device, to evaluate the unit’s interoperability with 5G and satellite technologies.

“Testing MediaTek’s standard NB-IoT chip over Inmarsat’s established GEO satellite network has proven technology from mobile networks works effectively over GEO satellites with little modification and will provide a very cost effective path to ubiquitous and hybrid global IoT coverage,” said Jonathan Beavon, Senior Director, Inmarsat Product Group.

The ultimate goal of the project is to contribute data to discussions on the feasibility of developing hybrid satellite and cellular networks to enable 5G IoT services on a global scale.

The results of the field trial carried out by the two companies will contribute to work being done by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a group of seven telecommunications standard development organisations collaborating on mobile telecommunications standards.

In particular, the Inmarsat and MediaTek trial will provide data for use as part of 3GPP’s Release-17 set of 5G system enhancements, scheduled for delivery in 2021, which aim to support the creation of 5G standards for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN).

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