The promised nirvana of 5G — connecting devices, robots, sensors everywhere — cannot be delivered without satellite, says Sakato Omata, writing in Techwire Asia. Satellites are needed to realize the potential of the 5G network because the fiber cables which make up the backbone of 4G networks, have reached their economic limits.
No one is saying that satellites will make cabled connections redundant. In fact, satellites are complementary to cable, as they act as a link for areas with a limited connection to the main grid. Satellites take into account bandwidth, latency, network conditions and other application-specific requirements, then provision traffic based on availability. They have prominent roles to play in two areas in particular: rural areas, where available infrastructure limits 4G connections, and urban areas with strong 4G connections, where satellites can ease network traffic congestion.
To achieve complete coverage with very high reliability, says Omata, providers should rely on a combination of multiple wireless resources such as Wifi, WiGig, and satellite. In this case, interoperability becomes a challenge, as multiple technologies must co-exist to deliver services in these environments.