March 6, 2018

Quick Thoughts on Mobile World Congress 2018

iDirect's Greg QuiggleBy Greg Quiggle, Vice President, Emerging Products, VT iDirect

I leave this year’s Mobile World Congress with new found vigor for our industry. As I attended sessions and met with new ecosystem partners, it became more clear than ever that we have a common goal:  Global Connectivity. Satellite has traditionally played an outsider role, but I’ve seen fresh indications on how satellite communications can transform into an important participant that enhances the deployment of 5G.

To the satellite layman, 5G is simply “cellular backhaul take 4.” However, a deeper dive into the new standard and associated players that are driving this future reveals much more.

The recently released 5GNR and associated 3GPP standards imply several opportunities for LEO/MEO/GEO satellites and mobile wireless to operate in concert as a unified Radio Access Network. This will be accomplished through converging on a common core network, adapting VSAT’s radio interface methodology, and perhaps exploiting our existing Group QoS capabilities.

Mobile World Congress 2018Throw in a little innovation around Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and you have the ingredients for a very exciting time in our industry. Embracing this paradigm will lower the cost-per-bit for upcoming, massive satellite constellations while opening the door to sustained growth for our industry via emerging markets, such as IoT and Connected/Autonomous Vehicles.

For this reason, iDirect is directly engaging all levels of the wireless mobility ecosystem to position satellite as a valuable partner – because collaboration will be the key to thriving within this converged 5G world.