In what could be a significant development for space-based 5G, operator China Telecom, technology giant ZTE and Beijing-based company SpaceIoT say they have completed the industry’s first 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) deployment in a marine scenario.
It took place in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. Zhoushan consists of an archipelago of islands at the southern mouth of Hangzhou Bay.
This achievement, the partners say, enables satellite-ground interaction and service data transmission in a number of marine scenarios, highlighting the capability to deliver real-time, multi-terminal, and multi-scenario services such as marine water quality monitoring, temperature and humidity monitoring, and emergency rescue on uninhabited islands.
The system utilises China’s independently developed Tiantong mobile communication satellite, along with NTN 5G base stations and terminals. It adheres to the NTN international standards specified in Release 17 from standards body 3GPP.
The partners explain that, in marine water quality monitoring, 5G NTN-enabled marine buoys can collect such data as dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH values, and location information. This collected data is transmitted through 5G NTN networks to a cloud platform for data resolution and processing, enabling real-time marine water quality monitoring and data backhaul.
In the Zhoushan uninhabited island monitoring scenario meanwhile, temperature and humidity data is transmitted to the service platform using 5G NTN IoT terminals for analysis and processing. In addition emergency rescue simulations for the injured on such islands can be carried out using 5G NTN satellite messenger terminals.
A 5G NTN terminal can autonomously transmit location information. Additionally, a mobile phone can connect to a 5G NTN terminal via Bluetooth for sending and receiving voice messages and rescue messages.
Although still at an early stage, the idea is that 5G NTN technology will seamlessly combine cellular and satellite communication systems, ensuring ubiquitous network coverage for sea and remote mountainous areas. 5G NTN can meet the diverse application needs of short messages, IoT and positioning, and effectively address natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and typhoons.