Non-Terrestrial Networks for 5G

How do you test 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks before they are launched into space?

Non-Terrestrial Networks for 5G

With the hype growing around 5G non-terrestrial networks providing much larger coverage and resilience compared to terrestrial networks.  If they are to be used for mission critical communications, it is essential that they are reliable, stable and tested cost-effectively before they are launched into space. 

You must ensure vital requirements are met before deployment. As the NTN standards evolve, with new feature developments and software updates, how can you minimize the risk of failure (when launched) prior to launch? 

Key applications for NTN

Extend coverage

Bring 5G to Rural Areas
Reliability & Resilience for mission critical communications

Disasters, war zones

Augment Coverage

Mmtc, Global Internet

Challenges of testing NTN

There are complex challenges that need to be addressed in NTN, here are a few to consider:

  • Scale - Ability to test that the best Quality of Service is obtained over large coverage areas, with different types of UEs. For example, Massive IoT deployment
  • Performance - Ensure that NTN’s are reliable to cope with distance, speed and mobility of both satellite and the UE while still delivering on performance. Emulate different UE mobility and fading profiles in addition to fast moving satellites. Consider the large Doppler shifts from fast-moving satellites, airborne platforms at 20 km altitude and satellites at 600 km altitude. 
  • Reliability and Stability - Quality and reliability of service is paramount for successful 5G NTN deployments when mission critical applications may depend on it. 
  • Multi-layer communication - Satellite to satellite, satellite to ground, Satellite to airborne platform/aircraft. Handovers between terrestrial and satellite links. High radio link capacity needed to handle multi-path, mesh networks. All these communications need to ensure the user maintains continuity of service. 

These complexities lead to many areas that need testing to ensure communication remains reliable, consistent and stable. 


Challenges on the service link, things to consider:

Long Propagation delay - initial RACH, UL-DL time alignment, long data buffers, delay sensitive applications  
Fast satellite movement - UL/DL synchronization, large time drift between UE and Satellite, obsolete channel estimation affects link adaptation, Doppler
Low signal to noise ratio - Initial synchronization 


VIAVI has you covered to deliver on the technical challenges NTN creates but we also provide you with the reassurance that these are delivered with quality. For 5G NTN to succeed, you need to be able to rely on continuity and reliability of service, when mission critical communications demand it. 

VIAVI provides the expertise in 5G RAN technology to help overcome these challenges in a lab environment. VIAVI has leading solutions in RAN Test already being delivered to satellite manufacturers to validate communication prior to space launch, using our existing platform. Our solutions are purposely designed to handle the improvements in 3GPP standards, Release 17 and beyond. 

Find out more about our UE emulation and NTN testing capabilities, talk to someone today…

Learn more about Test 5G NTN from VIAVI today!

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TM500 Testing 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks on the Lab Demo