MediaTek is pushing the boundaries of advanced IoT 5G satellite communications with a successful field trial that transfers data through Inmarsat’s Alphasat L-band satellite, in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) 35,000 kilometers above the equator.
The results of MediaTek and Inmarsat’s IoT field test will be contributed to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)’s Rel-17 standardisation work on Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN), which is part of its overarching initiative to establish 5G standards toward new use cases and services.
The new 5G satellite NB-IoT technology established a bi-directional link from MediaTek’s satellite-enabled standard NB-IoT device to a commercial GEO satellite, breaking new ground for a truly global IoT coverage. The successful test builds the foundation for hybrid satellite and cellular networks to enable new ubiquitous 5G IoT services at a global scale.
Commenting on the development, Dr. Ho-Chi Hwang, general manager of communication system design, MediaTek, said, “MediaTek’s collaboration with Inmarsat will accelerate industry efforts to converge cellular and satellite networks in the 5G era. MediaTek is a leading connectivity provider and contributor to 3GPP standards, and our ongoing work with Inmarsat GEO satellites will help drive 5G innovation across verticals like IoT.”
MediaTek is the world’s fourth largest fabless semiconductor company and Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. The two companies ran the test with a base station located at the Fucino Space Center in Italy and developed by Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry (III). The test device, built with MediaTek’s satellite-enabled NB-IoT chipset, was located in Northern Italy. The prototype system successfully established a communication channel and data transfer with the GEO satellite ‘Alphasat’.
The successful test could provide proof as to the feasibility of new global standards and open market potential of using a single device for connecting both satellite and cellular networks.
Further, Jonathan Beavon, senior director, Inmarsat Product Group, said, “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.”