15, December 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10925
Open Date: 09/12/2021 13:49 CEST
Closing Date: 17/02/2022 13:00 CEST

The objective of the activity is to identify the benefits of Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB) in future satellite-terrestrial integrated communications networks, and propose the most promising use-cases of IAB that shall be implemented and validated. Targeted improvements: Adding flexibility to integrated satcom nodes needed to support the densified networking architectures not existing today. Description: In terrestrial 5G networks, the concept of Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) is nowadays being standardised and initial deployments of IAB are being experimented with. IAB will support very flexible network deployments by allowing radio access network (RAN) nodes (gNB’s) to function as a relay to other network nodes, in addition to acting as regular access node for user equipment. Using IAB, network topologies that are meshed, chained, mobile and dynamic can be supported. For now, the IAB standardisation discussion is led by terrestrially-inspired use cases and scenarios, but it is believed that non-terrestrial networks (NTN) could equally benefit from these IAB developments. Moreover, the application of IAB could also support future heterogeneous “3D” networks that consist of satellite, terrestrial, airborne and maritime nodes and still need standard mechanisms for resource management, service management and orchestration of the many links within such topologies. IAB could possibly bring efficiencies in the area of spectrum re-use between user and backhaul links, but these possible benefits need to be put into a satellite regulatory context. Regular 5G backhaul will be a considerable market for satellite, and could even be enlarged when making use of the additional features that IAB could bring to these backhaul scenarios. This activity shall investigate the expected benefits of IAB for satellite networks: this shall range from the use of IAB in 5G satellite backhaul, stand-alone 5G satellite networks, integrated 5G satellite-terrestrial networks, up to future fully integrated 3D networks. The current IAB mechanisms as proposed in 3GPP shall be investigated and a trade-off with regards to their applicability and benefits shall be presented, including the use of frequencies, and adaptations of Layer2 Backhaul Adaptation Protocol (BAP). The activity shall recommend specific IAB features or extensions in combination with future testbeds that could be used to validate the perceived IAB benefits. It is expected that this initial IAB activity will lead to a larger ARTES 5G SPL activity that will implement the recommended IAB mechanisms.

Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 100-200 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Adriana Lucas
Initiating Service: TIA-TFE
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-03A – 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 6-A-III-Networking Techniques
Products Keywords: 2-P-Other

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