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KT SAT successfully conducts 'world first' 5G satellite transmission

28 Nov 2019

Korean satellite communications service provider KT SAT has claimed that it has successfully conducted the world’s first 5G transmission with a satellite connection.

The test, which was tested with a satellite connection from Seoul, marks a new dawn of 5G edge cloud as a virtual data center, and how hybrid 5G transmission technology can keep operations going, even when 5G coverage becomes available, or in the event of a natural disaster.

 The test aimed to expand the fifth-generation technology linked to KT's 5G network and KT SAT's KOREASAT 6, located approximately 36,000 kilometers above the equator.

KT SAT worked with the KT Institute of Convergence Technology executed the project together. 

The two companies implemented a hybrid terrestrial satellite 5G transmission, which combines different networks to deliver data better than typical 5G service, as well as a 5G edge cloud media transmission using satellite communications backhaul links.

According to the company, the process meshes satellite communications with the content delivery network (CDN) for video transmissions from the 5G edge cloud.

"Meshing satellite and 5G will create communication environments without regional gaps, greatly contributing to both disaster and emergency communication and content markets where communication is quintessential," explains KT SAT president Hahn Won-Sic.

"Through continued technological exchange with KT, we will strive to achieve global technological standardization and provide good customer service."

The company explains that the key to hybrid satellite-terrestrial 5G transmission is a router jointly developed by the KT institute and KT SAT. 5G terminals connected to this device can simultaneously transmit and receive various data, or use separate routes, to and from a 5G network and a satellite.

KT SAT, by using this technology, successfully maintained normal service operations with KOREASAT 6 alone, after the 5G network was intentionally disconnected.

“By using satellite communications backhaul links, KT SAT transmitted real-time streaming data and live video camera footage from its Kumsan Satellite Service Center to the 5G edge cloud at the KT Research and Development Center in Umyeon-dong, Seoul. The transmission was through KOREASAT 6, resulting in seamless data transmission to multiple 5G terminals,” the company says.

KT's executive vice president and head of the KT Institute of Convergence Technology, Jeon Hong-Beom, comments, "We are very pleased to have succeeded in interlinking satellite and 5G for the first time in the world by using the 5G technologies possessed by KT Group. We expect that our institute will contribute to developing new business models in the days ahead by mustering our group-wide technological prowess."

KT SAT states that if the two technologies are commercialized, satellite communication with relatively slow speed could be boosted to provide faster, uninterrupted data transmission. This will result in more opportunities for many users in countries with less developed communications systems to access high-quality content.

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