Ubiquitous Connectivity


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Intro & Impact

As advances in 5G connectivity continue to occur we can’t underestimate the importance these will bring to both industry and our lives. Satellite utilisation solves coverage problems which ground based infrastructure cannot alone cater for. Satellites maximise the inherent value of 5G networks. 5G standards make Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) including satellite segments an established and identified part of 5G connectivity infrastructure.

Under the Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES) programme the European Space agency (ESA) has been pioneering the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). ESA through the ARTES programme has been revolutionising 3GPP standardisation with projects such as ESA ARTES ALIX. ARTES 5G Terrestrial Including Non-terrestrial Architectures (TINA) develops upon this work and materialises standards, pulling together a representative minimal viable system.

As a part of the major primes product development, evaluation and quantification of standards proposed and adopted all help to bring us forward towards commercialisation and industry wide adoption of 3GPP NTN standards within the space industry.

The consortium is made up of sector recognised leading innovators, the Satellite Applications Catapult is proudly the prime in this project and is actively collaborating with the other key innovative partners, including the University of Surrey, Reply.

The ARTES 5G TINA project spans from June 2022 to November 2023. The projects timeline has been indicated below showing the achievable yet ambitious MSVP and testing criteria within 3D NTN topology:

3D NTN Network Scenarios and Critical Technology Elements

September 2022:

Describing the network topology and use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit MEO, and Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) in a 3D NTN topology, use of Critical Technology Elements (CTE) in the various scenarios.

Finalised Technical Specification / Design completed

December 2022:

Specification describing the design, Development, and Implementation of the Minimal Viable System Product (MSVP)

3D NTN testbed development and functionally complete

June 2023:

Report on the development and implementation of testbed software, and performance test results against specification.

3D NTN Testing and Validation complete

September 2023:

Use-case and scenarios testing procedures, and report on testbed validation testing against them

Use-case and scenarios evaluation & Testbed software

November 2023:

Report on testbed evaluation of use-cases and network scenarios giving an evaluation of critical technologies.

Software from testbed components in binaries for pre-existent 5G and other functions, and source code for software wholly developed during the activity.

Files for relevant service APIs to network and slice managers.

White Papers

March-November 2023

Interim White Paper in July 22 - ‘5G functions in NTN, use-cases, network scenarios and inputs to 3GPP’

Final white papers Apr 2023 - ‘5G functions in NTN, evaluation of critical technologies and inputs to 3GPP’ & ‘Testbed use manual’; Roadmap of technology developments, validation plans, and demonstrations


Work within the consortium proposes a development roadmap for the identified critical technological elements as well as technology demonstrative missions. Being first to market with new applications and services that develop the networks capability is a key factor in harnessing the economic benefits and technological evolution.

This project enables 5G satellite nodes by extending the use of 5G terrestrial network functions and protocols, software-defined networking (SDN), Multi access edge computing (MEC), as well as storage and distributed control within ARTES. Mechanisms to address the secure instantiation, control and management of the network, and the 5G network functionality will be tested and developed upon. All helping to enable a future with optimised connectivity, higher availability, and better utilisation of capacity allocation.

Other project objectives contextualise the technological advances in ubiquitous connectivity, the project develops a testbed to demonstrate an end-to-end network with integrated 5G NTN nodes as well as identification, description, and analysis of:

  • Scenarios of 3D NTN satellite networks architectures and their services
  • Context aware and advanced routing protocols
  • Hardware and software solutions for software defined reprogrammable satellite payloads
  • Hardware and software solutions of onboard edge computing
  • Enhancements of Software Defined Networking (SDN) control and management and data plane forwarding functions

The activity shall design and specify a System Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and implement a representative 3D NTN (Non terrestrial network) testbed to validate and analyse the performance of the MVP. The testbed could also be interconnected with 5G integrated satellite terrestrial test platforms to assess the performance of end-to-end services and show representative use cases.


The targeted improvement is enabling technical assessment and validation of solutions for 5G satellite nodes to implement flexible NTN space systems. 5G developments are set to change the world as we know it, if you’d like to learn more about 5G do take a look at our Ubiquitous Connectivity page and the Future Networks Development Centre (FNDC), supported by both the Satellite Application Catapult and Buckinghamshire’s local enterprise partnership; the entrepreneurial heart of Britain.

Our Partners

Our Funders

Ubiquitous Connectivity


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Ubiquitous Connectivity

5G RuralDorset

Project Completed