Introduction NTN

NB-IoT NTN Non-Terrestrial Networks

Introduction to NB-IoT NTN (Non-Terrestrial Networks)

NB-IoT Non-Terrestrial Networks (NB-IoT NTN) represent a groundbreaking advancement in cellular technology, standardized within the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This innovative framework enables the provision of telecommunication services via satellite connectivity using NB-IoT cellular modems.

What is NTN

NB-IoT Non-Terrestrial Networks (NB-IoT NTN) is a cellular technology standardized as part of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 17. It establishes a mechanism for satellites to deliver telecommunication services using NB-IoT cellular modems. This technology holds the potential to provide coverage worldwide wherever suitable satellites are positioned. Its primary applications include ensuring service continuity in areas where terrestrial networks are impractical, such as maritime or remote regions, and ensuring service availability in situations where terrestrial network infrastructures are unavailable due to economic constraints or disruptions caused by natural disasters like earthquakes or floods.

How NB-IoT NTN Works

NB-IoT NTN operates similarly to traditional NB-IoT devices, with the distinction that telemetry data from the device is transmitted to the evolved NodeB (eNB) through a satellite communication channel. Satellites employed in NB-IoT NTN include:

  • Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites: These satellites maintain a circular orbit approximately 35,786 kilometers above the Earth's equator, synchronized with the Earth's rotation. Objects in this orbit appear motionless relative to the Earth's surface, providing continuous coverage.

  • Non-Geostationary Satellites: This category includes Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. LEO satellites typically orbit between 500 km to 2,000 km above the Earth's surface, while MEO satellites orbit at altitudes ranging from 7,000 to 25,000 km. A constellation of multiple non-Geostationary satellites is necessary to maintain service coverage as they move over the horizon, necessitating handover management for seamless service continuity.

  • High Altitude Platforms (HAPS): HAPS are airborne vehicles such as planes or balloons stationed in the stratosphere at around 20 km altitude. Operating similarly to satellites but at lower altitudes, HAPS can provide continuous coverage over a specific territory, floating above conventional aircraft.

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