Satellite 5G & IoT

The future of 5G Communications: Non-Terrestrial Networks

Fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication systems are set to revolutionize global connectivity, with Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) playing a pivotal role. NTN, encompassing airborne and spaceborne vehicles, ensures ubiquitous connectivity with extensive coverage, service availability, continuity, and scalability, especially for IoT and Mission Critical applications.

Due to their broad coverage and resilience to physical threats, Non-Terrestrial Networks are poised to:

1. Extend 5G services to unserved and underserved regions, including isolated areas and moving platforms like aircraft and vessels.

2. Enhance the reliability of 5G services for M2M/IoT devices and passengers on the move, ensuring service availability for critical communications in various sectors.

3. Enable the scalability of 5G networks by efficiently delivering data to the network edges and user terminals, contributing to a cost-effective and robust communication infrastructure.

Satellite Evolution: from GEO to LEO

Looking at the evolution of space technology, there is a shift from the historical satellite communications revolved primarily around the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) or the Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) towards Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Referring to circular orbit, satellites can be distinguished based on altitude into three ranges:

LEO (Low Earth Orbit): at an altitude of 500–2000 km above the Earth secures the continuity of coverage by satellite network with satellites ranging from 50 up to 100 satellites and delay range in link "UE-Satellite" of 3-30 ms;

MEO (Medium Earth Orbit): located at an altitude of 8000–20.000 km over the surface of the Earth, providing full coverage of the Earth by satellites ranging from 10 up to 12 satellites with delay range in link "UE-Satellite" of 27-90 ms;

GEO (Geostationary Orbit: located at an altitude of 35.786 km, providing full coverage of the Earth by a constellation ranging from one up to three satellites with delay range in link "UE-Satellite" of 120-280 ms.

MEO and GEO follow earth’s 24-hour orbital cycle from an altitude of more than 35,000 kilometers, therefore only a small number of these satellites are needed to cover most of the planet’s surface. However, these satellites are large, complex and also very costly.

On the other hand, LEO satellites sit closer to the Earth, are smaller in size and have a shorter lifespan. Therefore, in order to ensure the same coverage, LEO satellites are usually launched grouped in constellations. LEO satellites provide multiple benefits, such as:

• Higher bandwidth and speed

• Enabling low-latency communications

• Are much less expensive, both per unit and launch costs

In a nutshell, the competitive prizes are opening space as a viable market to more companies and connectivity services, shifting from customized and handcrafted systems to mass production and automation.

Satellite O-RAN & Edge Computing

The traditional RAN is going to be disaggreagated and moved to the Space. The Satellite O-RAN will lead to significant benefits such as having an ubiquitous terrestrial and non-terrestrial network that can compensate potential downtimes in the terrestrial network, thanks to the use of space data centers. Moreover, through analysis using artificial intelligence engines, these data centers can preprocess the data before transfer to Earth. Additionally, they assist in performing computational offloading of resources, as the satellites are connected via optical inter-satellite links.

The role of AI in 5G Space Communication

Edge AI is a concept that brings the power of artificial intelligence and data processing directly to where the data is collected, rather than sending all collected data to a central server for processing. This approach enables faster data processing, reducing latency and data transmission load.

On satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), the implementation of Edge AI offers several advantages:

Edge AI is implemented through the use of artificial intelligence algorithms optimized to run on specific hardware, such as low-power, high-performance processors that can operate in space with the limitations imposed by environmental conditions. So applying it on LEO satellites enables greater autonomy and local decision-making capability, reducing dependence on communications with Earth and paving the way for a wide range of more efficient and effective space applications.

The growth of Satellite IoT for B2B/B2B2X market

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a "smart" technology that impacts nearly every aspect of society. Modern businesses and organizations rely on the IoT to intelligently exchange data, helping them track, monitor and manage assets. However, since cellular coverage only reaches about 15% of the planet, the need of looking to look to satellite communications has been accelerate, aiming to create continuity of coverage. The growth of Satellite coverage reflects also on the expansion of “Satellite IoT” applications and use cases, overcoming the traditional IoT towards new scenarios including markets such as agriculture, Logistics, Energy and Utilities, Transport etc.

Net Reply role

One of the most relevant themes nowadays concerns the transformation of networks.

At the forefront of this transformative journey lie the essential pillars: 5G, SDN, NFV, SAT, AI, and CLOUD – each constituting integral components of Net Reply's Core Business. Net Reply, positioned as a trailblazer in the implementation of 5G within the telecommunications landscape, is actively engaged in exploring these themes:

1. Through experimentation via CoP and/or trials of the two main Satellite IoT technologies: using licensed bands (NB-IoT) and unlicensed ones (LoRaWAN).

2. Through the study of new E2E Business model for a “Terrestrial-to-Non-Terrestrial" convergence

3. Through the definition of tangible 5G and IoT use cases that are already potentially applicable for Large Enterprises (e.g., energies, utilities, logistics).

Contact us

Before filling out the registration form, please read the Privacy notice pursuant to Article 13 of EU Regulation 2016/679

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input


I declare that I have read and fully understood the Privacy Notice and I hereby express my consent to the processing of my personal data by Reply SpA for marketing purposes, in particular to receive promotional and commercial communications or information regarding company events or webinars, using automated contact means (e.g. SMS, MMS, fax, email and web applications) or traditional methods (e.g. phone calls and paper mail).