A new mobile phone generation emerges every 10 years. With every generation, the maximum data rates usually increase a hundredfold. The sixth generation (6G) is now expected for 2030. With 5G, the focus was on low-latency networks for industry. With 6G, worldwide network coverage will play an even more important role. And so an essential form of support for 6G is likely to be constellations of small satellites in low earth orbit that will be able to communicate with each other when the terrestrial networks are unavailable
As part of the 6G research area, a terrestrial mobile network is being set up for research purposes on the Universität der Bundeswehr München campus. The terminal devices will be put in a position to communicate with each other via the SeRANIS satellite ATHENE1. The satellite itself functions either as a relay station in space or directly as a 6G base station. As part of the small satellite mission, parts of the future mobile communications protocols will for the first time be operated in space, which means that the “mobile mast in space” will move a step closer towards becoming reality.
Core objectives and unique feature
Our aim is to achieve the most flexible possible satellite payload in order to operate various mobile communications protocols on the satellite itself. To enable software updates for our 6G on-board base station during the mission, use is made of a flexible FPGA and processor architecture. Interaction with the terrestrial mobile communications network on the ground provides us with a unique infrastructure to perform experiments for 6G research.
With this lighthouse project in the field of 6G satellite integration, we are providing, in cooperation with our European research partners, a unique test and experiment environment to significantly influence 6G standardization. One of the main objectives is to verify the feasibility and operability of a 6G on-board base station for LEO satellites.
What do we aim to achieve?
The ATHENE1 satellite will serve as a technology platform for evaluating satellite-based 6G services and will make it possible to demonstrate extensive communication experiments in conjunction with the terrestrial mobile network.
In cooperation with our European research partners, we want to make a contribution to future mobile communications standardization with LEO satellites. In this context, use cases for government agencies play a particularly important role.
Institute of Information Technology
Institute for Microelectronics and Integrated Circuits
Institute of Communications Engineering and Data Transmission Technology
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Petra Weitkemper
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Korb