Sateliot and Telefónica extend 5G IoT network to space

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In a groundbreaking achievement, Sateliot and Telefónica have successfully extended a 5G network to space. The breakthrough opens the door to widespread connectivity across the planet, reaching areas that were previously out of reach.

The successful test involved the end-to-end transmission of satellite coverage extension to Telefónica’s cellular network using standard GSMA roaming. The demonstration was witnessed by the European Space Agency, further validating the significance of the achievement.

During the test, Sateliot demonstrated the seamless integration of its network with Telefónica’s by using a regular SIM card provisioned on the Kite platform of Telefónica Tech on an IoT cellular device.

The device effortlessly switched to the Sateliot network, showcasing that standard roaming connections can be authenticated by the Telefónica core through Sateliot’s networks.

A key feature of the demonstration was the implementation of the ‘Store & Forward’ method, a two-step authentication process developed and patented by Sateliot. This innovative approach supports standard roaming with an MNO and is adapted for use in the Non-Terrestrial Network in Low-Earth Orbit (NTN LEO).

Antonio Franchi, Head of Space for 5G and 6G Strategic Programme at the European Space Agency, expressed enthusiasm for the achievement, calling it a “disruptive advancement” in the realm of satellite IoT services. Franchi believes that the successful integration of these technologies will pave the way for the digitalisation of the world, revolutionising global connectivity and communication through satellite capabilities.

The Store & Forward technology is a critical component of Sateliot’s 5G network with satellite access. It enables data to be stored when the satellite is out of position to connect with a ground station and forwards it once the satellite enters the coverage range. This feature is particularly relevant for Sateliot’s early-stage constellation, where the number of satellites is limited.

The positive results from the test confirm that 5G IoT devices can transmit data through a standard roaming interface using the Store & Forward two-step authentication method. This validation ensures that Sateliot is on track to enter commercial operations in 2024.

Marco Guadalupi, CTO of Sateliot, said:

“This is the culmination of years of studies and developments of our Store & Forward two-step authentication procedure that gives Sateliot a unique position to establish roaming extension for NB-IoT NTN delay tolerant applications.

We are in front of a game changer in future 3GPP networks that will reduce costs based on low-density constellations and reduced ground segment infrastructure, minimising the impact in space and reducing time-to-market.

It is very exciting to see where we are and what we have accomplished. The IoT industry is clearly headed toward the standard, and we are thrilled to enable it.”

The applications of Sateliot’s technology are far-reaching, including supporting millions of Americans reliant on private water wells, generating substantial savings in maintenance costs for shipping companies, aiding South African livestock owners in their fight against poaching and herd control, and providing a precise crop-monitoring system for farmers worldwide.

Starting in 2024, Telefónica will be the first Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to provide its customers with an everywhere-in-the-planet NB-IoT connectivity, combining cellular and satellite standard NB-IoT networks with inexpensive commercial standard NB-IoT devices.

Carlos Carazo, Technology & Technical Operations Director of IoT and Big Data at Telefónica Tech, commented:

“This is a very important milestone for the industry in which Telefónica natively integrates the satellite network with the NB-IoT networks of Telefónica and Kite, the managed IoT connectivity platform developed by Telefónica Tech with which the customer can control and monitor their power lines in real-time and remotely from anywhere in the world through a web portal or via APIs”.

The successful integration of the 5G network with satellite capabilities marks a pivotal moment in the telecommunications industry. With the promising prospects of widespread connectivity and global reach, the future of IoT and communication is set to be revolutionised.

(Image Credit: Sateliot)

See also: Satellite IoT is crucial for safeguarding national grids

Want to learn about the IoT from industry leaders? Check out IoT Tech Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. The event is co-located with Digital Transformation Week.

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