CONNECTING BEYOND BOUNDARIES: THE FUTURE OF NON-TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs) represent a transformative advance in global connectivity – extending the reach of network services beyond the constraints of traditional terrestrial infrastructure.

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As the 5G revolution gathers pace worldwide, NTNs are poised to play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless coverage across the globe, particularly in remote and underserved regions. New NTN networks harness technologies including satellites operating in different earth orbits – low (LEO), medium (MEO), and geostationary (GEO) – as well as high-altitude platforms (HAPS) and drones, providing reliable connectivity solutions in areas that are inaccessible to traditional ground-based networks.

By overcoming the geographic limitations of terrestrial networks, Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs) offer significant promise for extending the reach of 5G lighting up new pathways to innovative IoT and network applications for Communications Service Providers (CSPs).

CONTINUOUS INNOVATION ALIGNS WITH MATURING STANDARDS

The evolution of non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) has already delivered a significant impact in the expansion of global connectivity.

Traditionally, satellite was used primarily for terrestrial network backhaul services which have now evolved into Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), offering wide area connectivity for IoT devices. The progression to 5G New Radio (NR) NTNs marks a major leap forward in integrating satellite communications within the 5G smartphone ecosystem – enabling highly efficient provision of mobile broadband and fixed wireless access services in remote areas.

Traditional NTN icon

Traditional NTN

– GEO
– Satellite backhaul

*Proprietary devices (e.g. sat phones)

IoT NTN icon

IoT NTN

– LEO, MEO, GEO
– NB-IoT
– Transparent payload
– Standalone → In band/guard band
– CAT-M on NTN
– SOS & 2-Way Messaging, Emails

*Commercial phones
3rd Party Apps

NR NTN icon

NR NTN

– LEO, MEO, GEO
– 5G
– Voice Services
– Emergency Services
– Mobility (NTN-NTN, NTN-TN)
– Regenerative payload
– Low latency (25ms compared to 600+ ms)
– Roaming

*Commercial phones
3rd Party Apps

AN EVOLVING VISION: 3GPP STANDARDS ROADMAP FOR NTN

The 3GPP standards roadmap for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTNs) is a testament to the ongoing collaborative effort between the mobile and satellite industries to smoothly integrate satellite communications within the global 5G ecosystem.

NTNs in 3GPP Roadmap

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The completion of 3GPP Release 17 set the foundation for new radio-based satellite access, creating the potential for enhanced 4G/5G connectivity on the transparent payload for handheld devices, plus massive IoT use cases across sectors spanning industry, agriculture, and logistics. The progress achieved in Release 18 and the ongoing work towards Release 19 pushes the boundaries even further, introducing regenerative payload capabilities to optimize satellite access performance and ensure reliable expansion of 5G service reach.

As the industry looks ahead to Release 20, the focus will shift to greater optimization of satellite access performance and enhanced support for new capabilities and services as part of the integrated 5G evolution. The culmination of these efforts in Release 21 and the anticipated developments in subsequent releases will define the future trajectory of 5G and beyond – paving the way for 6G technologies to build on the momentum and drive continued gains in NTN performance and capabilities.

CLOUD-NATIVE ADVANTAGES FOR NON-TERRESTRIAL CONNECTIVITY

Mavenir is advancing the capabilities of virtualized RAN with its next-generation Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) portfolio, focused on enabling smooth integration of satellite connectivity with terrestrial networks. Mavenir’s 3GPP-based NTN solution is designed to provide seamless connectivity from satellite direct to consumer devices. The solution enables a wide range of NTN services – including IoT, mobile broadband, voice calls, messaging and emergency services communications –  for robust last-mile coverage regardless of geographical location or terrain.

Cloud-Native, Virtualized RAN

  • NBIoT and NR NTN solution
  • Unique split 8.0 RAN interface
    • Between eNodeB and ground base
  • Keeping satellite ground equipment waveform-agnostic
  • Integrating diverse wireless systems on the same satellite

3GPP-Compliant Solution

  • NBIoT and NR NTN solution
  • 3GPP Rel. 17-compliant technology
  • Flexible RAN split: Transparent and Regenerative payloads

Service Based Architecture

  • Containerized RAN workload
  • Ensures easy roll-out
  • Adaptable to network changes

Harmonize Terrestrial & Non-Terrestrial Network

  • Standard eCPRI interfaces
  • Enhancing efficiency
  • Lower TCO

NB-IOT AND NR NTN RAN SOLUTION FROM MAVENIR

Built to 3GPP standards for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), Mavenir’s MB-IoT and NR NTN RAN solution is engineered as a cloud-native, fully containerized platform. Featuring NTN RAN and Packet Core functions segmented into modular, containerized services, Mavenir’s solution delivers faster deployment and effortless upgrades to comprehensively streamline the path to NTN connectivity for CSPs.

 

NB-IoT and NR NTN RAN solution from Mavenir

The cloud-native, service-oriented architecture enhances the system’s adaptability and agility in response to network modifications, dramatically simplifying the implementation process. Maximizing utility and scalability, these containerized services are specifically designed for deployment across a distributed physical infrastructure spanning multiple geographic areas.

Mavenir NBIoT and NR NTN solution integrates with the Ground-Based Beam Former (GBBF), which directs the beam to a specific UE location on the ground via the satellite link. The radio interface towards UE is provided through a GEO-synchronous satellite. The solution connects to the core network using a 3GPP-compliant S1 interface.

MAVENIR LEADS MOVE TO REGENERATIVE NTN ARCHITECTURE

Mavenir is leading the transformation of satellite communications by facilitating the integration 5G, allowing direct links between ground and space networks via a Regenerative Satellite-based Architecture. This system processes data on board, handling tasks such as modulation and routing, enhancing connectivity for remote areas with high-speed, low-latency service, and eliminating terrestrial constraints.

Non-standards based (Proprietary) solution before Rel-19 3GPP (2025/26)

Approach 1:

  • Develop a regenerative RAN/Core solution with onboard LEOs support
  • Define specifications for L&S band, followed by FR2

Approach 2:

  • Develop a regenerative RAN/Core solution with onboard LEOs support
  • Reusing of terrestrial bands

Standards-based solution (3GPP) in 2026/27

  • Develop the RAN solution with support from onboard LEOs
  • Alignment with the chipset ecosystem
  • Launch mobile services, as terrestrial MNOs
Mavenir leads move to regenerative NTN architecture

USE CASES

Use cases

NEWS & INSIGHTS

Mavenir and Terrestar Solutions Partner to Accelerate Commercial Deployment of 5G New Radio Non-Terrestrial Network
Press Releases

Mavenir and Terrestar Solutions Partner to Accelerate Commercial Deployment of 5G New Radio Non-Terrestrial Network

avenir-Successfully-Demonstrates-Narrowband-IoT-Non-Terrestrial-Network-Connectivity-on-Ligado-SkyTerra-Satellite-Network
Press Releases

Mavenir Successfully Demonstrates Narrowband IoT Non-Terrestrial Network Connectivity on Ligado SkyTerra Satellite Network