In a groundbreaking achievement, researchers at the University of Surrey have successfully harnessed the power of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation operated by the European satellite company Eutelsat Group (formerly known as OneWeb) to provide 5G-quality connectivity via satellites 5G connectivity. This remarkable feat was made possible through the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sunrise Partnership Project, with support from the UK Space Agency.
This innovative experiment demonstrated a smooth shift from 5G mobile devices to satellite systems, ensuring consistent 5G service quality. Tests included high-speed video conferencing, gaming, and web browsing, with minimal delays, using a LEO network of almost 600 satellites and the University of Surrey’s 6G/5G Innovation Center.
A Step Closer to Global Internet Access
Barry Evans, a Professor at the University of Surrey’s 6G/5G Innovation Centre, shared his enthusiasm. He remarked, “The 5G connection from the low Earth orbit constellation showed no degradation, which is thrilling.” He added, “This advancement moves us closer to expanding global internet access, a privilege often overlooked
Rahim Tafazolli, Director of the Institute for Communication Systems, underscored the importance of their work. He said, “Our 5G core, developed in Surrey, effectively integrates with large satellite and terrestrial networks.” Tafazolli expressed satisfaction with the UK’s leadership in merging space and ground networks. He emphasized their contribution to overcoming digital divide issues. Their efforts aim for widespread, high-quality broadband service coverage.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Massimiliano Ladovaz, Group Chief Operations Officer at Eutelsat, highlighted their low Earth orbit services for remote mobile users. He stated, “Our ongoing commitment is to existing customers and global coverage activation later this year.” Ladovaz emphasized their primary goal: expanding worldwide connectivity access.”
ESA’s Contribution to Innovation
Javier Benedicto, Acting Director of Connectivity and Secure Communications at ESA, praised the collaboration under the Sunrise Partnership Project, stating, “ESA is helping to foster innovation in 5G connectivity in the highly competitive global market for telecommunications satellites.”
Enhancing Lives Through Connectivity
Harshbir Sangha, the Missions and Capabilities Delivery Director at the UK Space Agency, praised the milestone. He stated, “The low Earth orbit network’s successful connection to a 5G mobile network is fantastic.” He continued, “This shows the technology’s potential to boost connectivity and better lives.” He emphasized, “It can enhance remote broadband services and improve emergency response capabilities.”
An achievement in satellite-based 5G-quality connectivity represents a major advance in telecom’s global coverage goa.
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