System-level simulation for non-terrestrial 5G New Radio networks

September 13, 2022 | Interview with Sahana Raghunandan and Christian Rohde

What special capabilities does the Fraunhofer simulator have?

Very often, there’s a big gap in understanding when it comes to the world of terrestrial mobile communications and the world of satellite communications. In our simulator, we bring both worlds together and demonstrate how the two system types are able to interact with and complement each other. Our simulator makes it possible, in particular, to characterize aspects such as coverage, throughput and interference.

What do you mean by system-level simulations?

Basically, it’s about modeling connections for different user equipment types, from handheld devices to cars and aircraft. These are provided with one or several data services – via satellite, terrestrial base stations or both. Each of the different services or applications comes with its own network requirements, necessitating individual evaluations. Our simulator does both.

Your work involves non-terrestrial 5G NR networks. How can high-altitude platforms (HAPs) and satellites improve the 5G network?

Providing user equipment with additional coverage from the sky alleviates many of the limitations of terrestrial networks. For example, the latter offer limited coverage in remote areas or if the infrastructure is insufficient. It’s like an expansion from 2D to 3D connectivity. This enables various new scenarios such as multi-link connectivity and, as a result, enhances user-friendliness and security of coverage. The ultimate goal, of course, is across-the-board coverage and seamless connectivity. We evaluate all of these aspects in the simulation.

Why did you choose this special platform for the simulations?

We decided to develop a user-friendly front end called SimAppWeb, which is easy to operate even in complex scenarios. It allows customers to configure and evaluate their own simulations. To this end, our Fraunhofer experts progam these scenarios in the back-end simulator using the OMNEST tool.

How can customers benefit from the results?

With this approach, customers know beforehand whether their planned connectivity scenarios are feasible. And they can easily evaluate which measures of performance, such as data rates, can be achieved. They can also pinpoint any overloads or compare different coexistence technologies. This way, customers not only get results, but also gain valuable experience.

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System-level simulation for non-terrestrial 5G New Radio networks

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