I have always been excited about the possibility of introducing cellular communication into the satellite-driven communications space. Satellite cellular communications were earlier confined to backhaul and cellular channels. We had to focus on arranging small cells or an access network, then collecting all the traffic for sending it to a geostationary satellite.
However, while the idea was valid, nothing was done to specifically address more direct mobile communications with a satellite.
The scenario is changing.
Today, on the hardware side, we may utilize standardized current cellular 5G chips to link the satellite; these will be relatively inexpensive and will be capable of switching between terrestrial and satellite networks. This would enable ubiquitous connectivity anywhere in the world, with the same benefits of cellular communication in terms of security and scalability and larger amounts of data. The model would adhere to the global standards, be easily acceptable, and be capable of creating an ecology from the ground up. The difficulty with satellites, however, has always been the waveforms and networks. And technology utilized on cellular platforms is not designed for satellites, but rather for stationary cell towers on the ground and high power infrastructure. We are focusing on ways to adopt it, put it on a satellite, and still operate as if it is from a cellular tower. This forms the core of our vision at OQ.
What needs to be noted here is that while the broadband communication domain is more challenging, it is no longer an impossible ask. In an IoT environment especially, the bitrate offered today by the mobile networks is more than enough for IoT applications. While this requirement will decline on a satellite network, but it will still be superior to other satellite systems on the machine or IoT side – but not on the broadband front. Most of the satellite IoT protocols today have Aloha type of random access protocols, resulting in limited capacity.
However, with the cellular OFDM and Nearby Scheme, as the number of users grows, companies may use a scheduling strategy to spread the users out on frequency and time, allowing them to use more of the spectrum, as opposed to other satellite-based IoT protocols.