ARMMONY: Ground-Based Distributed Beamforming Harmonization For The Integration Of Satellite And Terrestrial Networks.

Title:  Ground-Based Distributed Beamforming Harmonization For The Integration Of Satellite And Terrestrial Networks. (ARMMONY).
Funding source: FNR – Luxembourg National Research Fund
Prime Contractor: SnT, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Partners: SES.
Principal investigator: Dr. Juan Merlano Duncan
Researchers: Prof. Symeon Chatzinotas, Dr. Jorge Luis Gonzalez, Dr. Vu Nguyen Ha, Dr. Wallace Martins, Dr. Jorge Querol, Ms. Liz Martinez-Marrero
Starting date / Duration: June 2022 / 36 + 12 months

 

About the project

Satellite communications are expected to play a fundamental role in beyond 5G and 6G networks. This is motivated by the
vast service coverage capabilities and reduced vulnerability of spaceborne vehicles to physical attacks and natural
disasters. In particular, satellite networks will foster the roll-out of 5G service in un-served areas that cannot be covered by
terrestrial 5G network (isolated/remote areas, onboard aircraft, or vessels) and underserved areas (e.g. sub-urban/rural
areas).
Satellites will also be instrumental to upgrade the performance of limited terrestrial networks cost-effectively, reinforcing the
5G service reliability, and enable 5G network scalability by providing data delivery towards the network edges or even user
terminals. This new generation of network technologies will open prospects for the new digital economy and business
models, enhancing human development, including disadvantaged and isolated areas.
On the other hand, the trend in 5G mobile communications goes toward distributed and decentralized architectures, the
use of small cells, and even the implementation of cell-free topologies where a large number of small antennas distributed
over a wide area serve a set of mobile users. This trend might seem in contradiction with the idea of using the spaceborne
links to provide connectivity to the terrestrial networks since satellite reception usually requires large and very directive
antennas (parabolic reflectors). The complications might be worsened for satellites flying in non-geostationary orbits, in
which case the antenna needs to be steered to point to the moving satellite, increasing significative the cost of the system.
One preliminary solution is the use of active antenna arrays, however, simply scaling current active antenna architectures
could result in unacceptable mass, volume, and power consumption. To solve these challenges, we propose the use of
collaborative beamforming among the set of distributed terrestrial antennas to be used in the reception of the satellite
signals as well as in the terrestrial signals.
The objective of this project is to identify and analyze the technical challenges associated with these new architectures,
such as network synchronization and the requirement of a low-latency, high-rate fronthaul owing to using distributed signal
processing. And subsequently, perform prototyping and experimentation/demonstration of the concept in a laboratory
environment.

 

 

Project Partners

  • SIGCOM, SnT, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • SES TechCom, Betzdorf, Luxembourg

Funding Details

  • Funding Source: National Research Fund, Luxembourg
  • Project start date: June 2022
  • Expected End date: June 2025

 

Relevant links

Contact

Dr. Juan Merlano-Duncan