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ComSoc Technology News (CTN) is a free, online monthly publication that publishes interesting, timely, and newsworthy articles that span a wide range of topics related to the communications technology industry. Our mission is to be an informational resource that brings diverse perspective and thought leadership, while providing a platform for lively discussion amongst our readers.

CTN is run by a team of volunteer editorial board members who are technical experts in diverse fields. All articles are reviewed and edited by a technical editor. The editor-in-chief performs the final review prior to publication. 

December 2019

Connectivity: From Top to Bottom

This article is a sequel to preceding articles on a range of topics related to satellite communications or flying platforms-based networks that CTN published during past few months. In this article, Zahid Ghadialy presents a consolidated framework to integrate spaceborne and airborne satellite networks into non-terrestrial networks to complement the existing terrestrial networks and discusses some potential architecture, use cases, open issues and standardization efforts as carried out by 3GPP working group.

To summarize the role of non-terrestrial networks for future global and ubiquitous connectivity, here are some use cases, not limited to:

  • Provision of backhaul/fronthaul for macro cell/small cell networks, e.g., wireless fronthaul for hard to read small cells or wireless backhaul for resource limited infrastructure environment in rural areas.
  • Provision of flying base stations and access network, e.g., flying balloons or spaceborne/airborne networks for disaster communications or coverage and capacity expansion for temporary events.
  • Provision of autonomous coverage hole detection, e.g., flying platforms can detect the coverage holes or poor signal efficiently and autonomously than any drive test or using network data.

Enjoy and as usual we welcome your feedback and suggestion.

- Muhammad Zeeshan Shakir, Editor

Statements and opinions given in a work published by the IEEE or the IEEE Communications Society are the expressions of the author(s). Responsibility for the content of published articles rests upon the authors(s), not IEEE nor the IEEE Communications Society.