Evaluating feasibility of using 5G technology for satellite communication

Forsway is a Swedish company fostering an efficient, cost-effective approach to extending broadband services in regions with limited infrastructure or capacity. Forsway has developed pioneering technology and equipment for delivering hybrid satellite internet solutions that combine the benefits of satellite and existing terrestrial networks. Their solutions are deployed in the USA, Europe, Africa, APAC, and Latin America.

During the spring of 2023, Magister Solutions executed a DVB/NR technology comparison project for Forsway. The objective was to compare the DVB-S2X/RCS2 and 5G NR-NTN technologies with each other in a geostationary satellite scenario.

“We are currently studying the feasibility of using 5G technology for satellite communication. We received a recommendation from the European Space Agency (ESA) to use Magister’s help for simulating 5G NR over satellite,” says Edvin Lindqvist, CTO of Forsway.

“Initial contacts clearly showed Magister’s understanding of what we needed and their capabilities to perform the simulations we need,” Lindqvist adds.

Evaluating Magister’s strong simulation and R&D expertise

In the joint project, a comparison of technologies was executed using three means: theoretically, with simple link level evaluations, as well as, with capacity level system simulations. Magister’s C-DReAM simulation tool was employed in the project.

The project explored the same theme as the ESA-funded MARINA project, which was kicked-off in June – a highly topical discussion right now as organizations contemplate which technology to invest in: What are the differences between DVB-S2X/RCS2 and 5G NR technologies? Is 5G NR ready to replace the DVB?

Tapping Magister’s expertise within simulations and satcom technologies can be very useful for satcom companies when considering future solutions.

“Magister has the critical competence, both related to simulations as well as technologies, to assist future-oriented companies like Forsway in the satcom industry in making impartial comparisons, says Jani Puttonen, CEO of Magister Solutions. Our unique simulation tools help solve companies’ concrete problems.”.

The result: A deeper understanding of technologies

For Forsway, the joint project provided answers to the questions they were addressing.

“The simulation project with Magister helped us to better understand how 5G NR would work in an NTN context, continued Lindqvist. The main takeaway is a more complete understanding of how 5G NR compares to traditional DVB technologies for satcom. A surprising result was also just how much the efficiency of the return channel differs between the two technologies.”.

The comparison of these technologies continues in ESA’s MARINA project, which companies interested in the subject can follow through ETSI SES-SCN standardization.

Magister Solutions is a Finnish company specializing in communication network simulation tools and services for modelling real-world communication systems (satellite and terrestrial) in detail. By simulating communication networks, Magister is creating undetected knowledge that fosters mobile, satellite, and emerging industry development – enabling a more secure, faster way to create digital communication beyond boundaries.