One of the main drivers of 5G cellular networks is provision of connectivity service for various Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Considering the potential volume of IoT devices at a global scale, the next leap is to integrate Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) into 5G terrestrial systems, thereby extending the coverage and complementing the terrestrial service. This paper focuses on the use of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations for two specific purposes: offloading and backhauling. The former allows offloading IoT traffic from a congested terrestrial network, usually in a very dense area. In the latter application, the constellation provides a multi-hop backhaul that connects a remote terrestrial Next Generation NodeB (gNB) to the 5G core network. After providing an overview of the status of the 3GPP standardization process, we model and analyze the user data performance, specifically in the uplink access and the satellite multi-hop constellation path. The evaluation of the collisions, the delay and Age of Information, and the comparison of the terrestrial and the satellite access networks provide useful insights to understand the potential of LEO constellations for offloading and backhauling of IoT traffic.
|International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking
|Udgivet - 1 jul. 2021