CCww is turning its attention towards the eventual unifying of IoT for Cellular and Satellite operation.

This will require modifications to the protocol-stack and underlying PHY, for both eNodeBs and UEs, to address the different propagation environment; these changes are subject of the forthcoming 3GPP Release-17.

Outline of LEO Operation

The LEO satellite, with on-board eNB, continually moves across the earth's surface. UEs on the surface are able to communicate with the satellite when it is briefly overhead, when the signal is strong. When moving towards the UE, there is a positive Doppler, which turns negative when the satellite has passed overhead.

statellite transition

Project Outline

To support 3GPP Release-17 Non-Terrestrial Network product developers, CCww is developing for release mid-2024 an  NB-IoT/NTN Test-Bench, with the following aims:

  • Validate Release 17 specifications; provide potential suggestions for future standards updates
  • Compare and characterise LEO and GEO operation
  • Explore location of eNodeB and elements of the Core Network in space vs on ground
  • Set system-wide performance expectations; identify capacity for mix of use-cases; warn of impensing system overload; explore impact of introducing new groups and classes of users ahead of deployment
  • Provide Software IP for NTN SoC design or framework to introduce Licensee's IP with clear specification for required NTN customisation
  • Provide specification for Licensee eNodeB design
  • Framework to validate product development

The Test-Bench software outline is shown above. It may be licensed as a whole or by individual element (to allow licensee IP to be inserted and customised).

NB NTN UE Protocol-Stack and eNB

The outline customisations for NTN-operation are shown below:

  • Protocol Stack for execution on XILINX ZYNQ Z7020 with SDR module:
    • Multiple instantiation (CPU/Memory dependent) - e.g. 10xUEs
    • Multiple identities for each instantiation - SAY X16+
    • Handling of LEO/GEO phase-noise, doppler and additional delay/latency
  • For use with Partner-customised (NTN) NB-IoT PHY/RF combination
    • Physical Layer procedure for UL and DL
    • Digital Front End driver for AD9361 radio on Z7020
  • Manager for instantiation/use-cases/identities
  • Selected Release-17 features (see below)
  • Licence for laboratory evaluation, test and demonstration
    • Executable and ANSI C-Code option
    • License whole or in part
    • Substitute licences own IP for modification and test
  • License upgrade for UE development and manufacture

The Test-Bed comprises:

  • Customised Protocol Stack / PHY executable for Windows, including:
    • NAS: Bearer control, AT-CMD interface, ESM, ESMS, REG, EMM
    • USIM Interface
  • Partner eNodeB executable for ARM Cortex-A with SDR
  • Skeleton Core Network
  • Requires Ettus USRP B200 SDR for channel emulator
    • Programmed for variable Doppler, phase-noise, power level
  • Diagnostic tools
  • Test cases and test execution script
    • JHAT Protocol diagnostic toolset
    • Diagnostic tools
    • System Manager
  • User guide


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