The satellite-enabled Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) standard chipset of MediaTek, a Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company, is tested with the base station at Italy's Fucino Space Center. The world’s first field test is conducted using Inmarsat's 'Alphasat L-band', Geostationary Orbit satellite, 35,000 km above the equator.
The outcome of the IoT field test will contribute to the Rel-17 standardization work on the Non-Terrestrial Network of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. This move is the main step to build 5G standards toward services and new use cases.
The 5G satellite NB-IoT technology established a two-way link from the satellite-enabled NB-IoT device of MediaTek to the Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite. The successful test will form the base for cellular networks and hybrid satellite to empower new universal 5G IoT services.
MediaTek’s General Manager of Communication System Design, Ho-Chi Hwang stated that the collaboration of MediaTek and Inmarsat will accelerate the efforts to congregate cellular and satellite networks in the 5G era.
The fourth-largest fabless semiconductor company, MediaTek, and the world’s leading mobile satellite communications firm, Inmarsat conducted the test at Italy's Fucino Space Center and developed by Taiwan's Institute for Information Industry (III). The test device is built with the satellite-enabled NB-IoT chips by MediaTek and is in Northern Italy.
The success of the test will open the market's potential of connecting satellite and cellular networks with a single device and prove the viability of the new global standards.
Jonathan Beavon, Senior Director at Inmarsat Product Group stated that the test of standard NB-IoT chip of MediaTek with Inmarsat's GEO satellite network has demonstrated that mobile networks can work effectively over GEO satellites with minor modifications. This can provide an affordable way to universal and hybrid global IoT coverage, he added.
The whole industry will get a boost if the test succeeds in becoming an efficient way of communicating with millions of IoT devices through satellite.