5G-EMERGE is a digital transformation project, converging satellite services with online delivery, making use of the 3GPP 5G specification as convergence technology.
The project envisages an open multi-tenant ecosystem that seamlessly integrates Near Edges well connected to Satellite Teleport with distributed Far Edges through a virtualised satellite connection to 5G- base stations. This solution is a hybrid, native IP, infrastructure based on open standards to deploy edges in both 5G and non 5G-network head-ends, home networks and networks in vehicles. The edge architecture can host applications and expose popular content transparently to end-users, with caching and satellite backhaul as core services.
To achieve these aims, 5G-EMERGE is based on an open ecosystem, exploiting existing solutions where appropriate. Further it is establishing the market viability and validating the performance through real world testbeds.
Key challenges relate to the design of an ecosystem that allows potentially competing service providers to cooperate in an open distributed edge network with satellite backhaul.
There is a lack of defined 5G compliant interfaces essential to connect functional components to guarantee end-to-end functioning of this multi-tenant setup. Thus 5G-EMERGE has to design a service provisioning layer to control operation and enable to use the system with distributed edges as a single network.
Another challenge concerns the optimization of content provisioning to the distributed edges. And there is the question of transparent service discovery that will allow standard playout applications to retrieve content from nearby 5G-EMERGE edges.
Because 5G-EMERGE converges satellite distribution with online media delivery, it leverages satellite’s unique capability of distributing popular content in a cost-efficient manner over a large region with operationally superior quality that avoids congested interconnection hubs.
End users will be able to enjoy superior and cost effective streaming applications providing live and on-demand offerings from multiple Content Providers using normal applications on their own internet connected devices.
A Native IP solution allows different satellite networks to be used and pre-fetching mechanisms select popular content for specific edge locations, maximising efficiency of satellite backhaul capacity.
This is thanks to the 5G-EMERGE distributed edges that can be deployed in cars, trains, ships, planes, homes, apartment buildings, hotels, network head ends or at the access of 4G and 5G networks.
The baseline service layout of the 5GEMERGE ecosystem considers different actors and datastreams. The satellite teleport will receive the most popular live and on demand content from a content provider that is intended for the specific region covered by the satellites connected to the uplink.
Satellites will distribute this content to home gateways, or edges in vehicles and 4G/5G base stations through which it will be delivered to the end-user. In this manner, end-user playout devices controlled by content providers’/aggregators’ applications can access relevant content in the local network and make use of 5G edge processing capabilities.
The architecture follows the layout of different components in system function classes (SF) as per illustration.
5G-EMERGE consists of 2 project phases of 2 years each.
Phase I is organised in 5 work packages that will be delivered in 4 milestones with half year intervals:
WP1: Full system study including collecting relevant use case scenarios and traceable requirements. An architecture is drafted and complemented with a maturity assessment for available hardware and software.
WP2: Definition of ecosystem from an architectural and interface perspective. Critical technology elements are analysed, and testing/validation activities scoped.
WP3: A market assessment of a minimal viable product and potential value-added services is made. This combined with a value chain and cost analyses results in an industrialisation strategy for the ecosystem.
WP4: Agile process with development cycles to create a baseline stack of the envisaged ecosystem. This baseline stack is used to demonstrate, test and validate the ecosystem from an end-to-end perspective for 3 main use-case classes Direct to Home, Direct to Vehicle and Direct to Edge.
WP5: Dissemination activity irresponsible for delivering publicly available descriptions of the ecosystem.
Consists of productization and industrialisation activities with specific developments targeting industry segments: Direct-to-Home; Direct-to-Edge; Direct-to-Vehicle
WP1 has finished, including documents covering Requirement Traceability, Critical Technology Elements and a draft of the Minimal Viable Product. First cycle demonstrators show components of the chain in action.
WP2 System Architecture and detailing of Critical Technology Elements plus WP3 Market Assessment and Cost/Value Chain analysis, are expected to be finished in Q3 2024. End-to-end demo cycle demonstrator shows baseline functionality.
MS3 takes place in Q1 2024 covering WP3.3 Industry Strategy, WP2 updates including Design documents and first WP5 dissemination documents. WP4 demonstrators show extended functionalities.
MS4 finalizes Phase 1 and takes place in Q3 2024 with WP5 white papers and final dissemination documents. Demonstrators are used to test and validate the ecosystem.