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The objective of this activity is to study and demonstrate the seamless and efficient integration of mobile satellite networks in the 3GPP LTE core network, focusing on networking, management, control and system operational issues, through the specification and design of the necessary mechanisms (protocols, interfaces, MIBs) and the development of an emulator.
The activity aims to significantly reduce the cost of LTE-based interactive mobile services via the seamless and efficient integration of future interactive mobile satellite networks in the next generation 3GPP architecture, and to facilitate service creation and new business models for the satellite industry.
The core challenge of the project is the design and realisation of a satellite convergence layer and its validation through a testbed. As part of this core challenge different architecture options were investigated, to assess the most appropriate location of functionalities for the considered use cases.
The activity considered three architectural options for the satellite backhaul in an LTE network, following the new architectural blueprints considered within the software network community:
A) The ground system maintains only the eNB;
B) The ground system maintains local mobility and resource management;
C) The ground system maintains a full EPC network.
The integrated architecture is a composition of Option B and Option C. The main reason to exclude Option A is the delay of the communication over the S1-MME interface which results in large delays for the handover and activation procedures leading to very large buffering, requiring significant modifications to the 3GPP standards. Additionally, option A requires non-standard modifications of the eNBs and MMEs which will (especially because of the eNBs) highly increase the price of such a system.
The architecture includes apart from the convergence layer, also the different deployed network functions. Two different PGWs are deployed, one local PGW on the UE-side and one remote on the hub side for covering the communication mechanisms of both Option B and Option C.
The Local GW (which represents a merge of a small SGW and a small PGW) is responsible for routing all local network access and terminates the local voice calls. By that the local data traffic is kept from using the satellite link. All other traffic is routed via the SGW through the convergence layer to the hub side.
The project consists of 5 consecutive tasks organised in 4 phases.
Phase 1 consist of the initial task of identification of integration issues and the subsequent development of satellite convergence layer design and testbed technical requirements specification. This first phase concludes with a Preliminary Design Review. The next phase focuses of the testbed design concluding with the Critical Design Review. The following third phase progresses with the testbed development and validation of satellite convergence layer procedures. This phase concludes with a Qualification Review / Acceptance Review. Finally, the fourth phase provides the recommendations for deployment and the produces a user manual and concludes with a Final Review.
The project has been completed.