Omnispace, a company specialising in the delivery of telecommunications using satellite technology, has successfully demonstrated an in-orbit 5G network, which could solve the problem of getting 5G into more remote areas, especially for military operations which traditionally take place outside of dense, urban environments.
“Omnispace is honored to have been selected to work with the US Navy and Marines to demonstrate 5G capability from space,” said Campbell Marshall, vice president of government and international markets at Omnispace. “The development of standards-based 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) technology powered by Omnispace’s S-band spectrum will allow small tactical 5G devices to communicate directly and seamlessly with 5G-capable satellites and terrestrial networks, giving our warfighters ubiquitous global connectivity and true comms-on-the-move.”
5G satellite capability
Omnispace successfully demonstrated its 5G satellite capability with the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), along with the Navy and Marine Corps, and used its S-band spectrum, which is traditionally used for services such as radar and satellite TV, but can also be used to connect IoT devices via 5G. Omnispace was originally selected for the pilot by NSIN in 2020, in connection with the Verizon 5G Living Lab.
“5G will be a critical technology for our military operations in the very near future, and those operations aren’t limited to dense urban environments where most 5G infrastructure is being deployed,” said Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Newell, a driving force behind 5G initiatives in the US military. “Truly global, mobile 5G connectivity in aero, maritime and remote areas will be essential across a broad spectrum of our government and military operations.”
The Omnispace pilot successfully tested 5G-via-satellite capability in a LinQuest lab scenario, connecting a number of off-the-shelf 5G devices, and delivering voice and data services – via an emulated 5G radio access network (RAN) – to Omnispace’s on-orbit satellite.
Arriving in 2022, Omnispace says that it plans to make its direct-to-satellite 5G NTN connectivity products available through its ‘one global network,’ which, it says, “will utilize the company’s existing 2 GHz priority spectrum rights”.