Satellite-5G Integration: A Network Perspective
Future 5G mobile communication systems are expected to integrate different radio access technologies, including the satellite component. Within the 5G framework, the terrestrial services can be augmented with the development of HTS systems and new mega-constellations meeting 5G requirements, such as high bandwidth, low latency, and increased coverage including rural areas, air, and seas. This article provides an overview of the current 5G initiatives and projects followed by a proposed architecture for 5G satellite networks where the SDN/NFV approach facilitates the integration with the 5G terrestrial system. In addition, a novel technique based on network coding is analyzed for the joint exploitation of multiple paths in such an integrated satellite-terrestrial system. For TCP-based applications, an analytical model is presented to achieve an optimal traffic split between terrestrial and satellite paths and optimal redundancy levels.