Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) over NTN for beyond 5G & 6G

Project MECON
Project Key Information

Project Status: set-up

Start Date: January 2024

End Date: December 2026

Budget (total): 11148.18 K€

Effort:  113.62 PY

Project-ID: C2022/2-3

Project Coordinator

Name: Peretz Shekalim

Company: PenteNetworks

Country: Israel


Project Consortium

neXat, Belgium
PenteNetworks, Israel
IS Wireless, Poland
Instituto de Telecomunicações, Portugal
Koala Tech (KT), Portugal
Beyond Vision, Portugal
PDMF&C, Portugal
CTECH (C Tech Bilisim Tek. Tic. Ve San. A.S.), Türkiye
Türk Telekommunikasyon A.S., Türkiye
AdvTec Ltd, UK
London South Bank University
, UK
University of South Wales, UK


Problem statement: Network operators and service providers have already started deploying commercial 5th generation (5G) cellular networks. The research community is discussing use cases, requirements, and enabling technologies beyond 5G and 6G systems. Starting from 5G (3GPP Release 15) which is planned for and created by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Terrestrial and Non-Terrestrial System standards have started a converging trend.

For the first time in mobile communications, handover and other terrestrial mobile communication features started cooperating with Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN). But this hybrid network brings an additional challengewhich ends as an addition of time to communication delay. It is obvious that thisdelay will be a challenging problem in coming releases of 5G (releases 18 and 19) and even critical in 6G. Urban, dense urban and rural, in all hybrid uses of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, this additional delay problem will block many possible applications and services which are time sensitive.
Existing networks fall short of providing adequate broadband coverage to rural regions. Another challenge is the growing need for advanced network services from autonomous systems (e.g. transportation). Even in the most technologically advanced countries, existing cellular infrastructures may lack the level of reliability, availability, and KPIs for various services such as URLLC and IoT as requested by future wireless applications. The URLLC services defined as the central part of 5G, while provisioning and providing of URLLC services remain elusive, since providing the inherent URLLC KPIs, which are “Low Latency” and “High Reliability”. While network cell densification theoretically can address some of these gaps, it involves prohibitive deployment and operational expenditures for network operators and requires high capacity backhaul connections, which may not be available in
remote areas. Non Terrestrial Networks (NTN) are intrinsically designed to address lower population density areas at viable financial conditions. Another major problem addressed by this proposal is the marketing of services based on technologies which are potentially offered by different providers. The main problem to solve is to aggregate the service offering from the individual NTN and TN service providers into an offering answering the need for low latency and high reliability data communication services anywhere on the planet. Such a Service Orchestration (or Broker) platform is indispensable to organise the market and to introduce positive business models to support the innovative services mentioned above.

Solution and challenges: To address these issues, 5G-advanced and 6G envisions a three-dimensional (3D) heterogeneous architecture in which terrestrial infrastructures are complemented by nonterrestrial stations including satellites, Unmanned Aerial Systems/Vehicles (UASs/UAVs), and HighAltitude Platforms (HAPs). Not only can these elements provide on-demand cost-effective coverage in crowded and unserved areas, but they can also guarantee trunking, backhauling, support for highspeed mobility, and high-throughput hybrid multiple services. A Service Orchestration Platform which makes it possible for NTN and TN service providers to advertise their services according to a well
defined Standard and allows Service Consumers by means of a well defined and standardized API to discover the best possible Data Communication services, supporting a wide range of Use Cases wherever on earth and beyond. The Standardization aspects and the agreement amongst service providers to offer and manage their services in such a unified fashion is one of the most important challenges and needs to be addressed.

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