INN3SCO Project: INtegration of Non-3GPP Satellite networks with 5G COre networks.

The project, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), deals with the study and evaluation of convergence mechanisms in the use of satellite networks (not developed specifically for 5G) to access a terrestrial 5G Core Network (CN). INN3SCO is leveraging the mechanisms already defined by the current and evolving 5G specifications to access a 5G CN via non-5G networks (i.e., without making use of the 5G air-interface “New Radio”). Specifically, for this purpose the adaptation Network Functions (NFs) called N3IWF (Non-3GPP Inter-Working Function), TNGF (Trusted Non-3GPP Gateway Function), TWIF (Trusted WLAN Inter-Working Function) and W-AGF (Wireline Access Gateway Function), are already foreseen in 5G release 15 and 16. These NFs are allowing 5G integration with WiFi access and landline broadband modems. However, none of these NFs provides for the use of satellite access, while at the same time existing satellite platforms do not support these types of integration. At the same time, dedicated methods for the combined use of the multi-access link (both 3GPP and non-3GPP), called Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting (ATSSS) are defined, assuming as non-3GPP link a terrestrial one. Therefore, a functionalities for the integration of satellite networks in 5G networks, based on the adaptation and extension of NFs and ATSSS functions already included in the 5G specifications, is being designed, built and tested.

 

Project Kick-off: September 8, 2021; duration: 24 months.