MARINA Multi Access RelatIve performaNce compArison for GSO broadband satellite networks

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The project aims to fulfil the following objectives:

  • Compare the performance of DVB-S2x/RCS2 and 5G-NR NTN protocols when deploying broadband satellite services from geostationary orbits in the higher frequency bands (i.e., FR2).

  • Follow/monitor the ETSI work item “Comparison of DVB-S2x/RCS2 and 3GPP 5G-NR NTN based systems for broadband satellite communication systems” led by the SES-SCN working group and contribute the project findings, when applicable.

  • Identify potential improvements in 5G-NR when operating in such GEO High Throughput Satellite (HTS) scenarios, i.e., generate inputs for consideration under 3GPP Release 18 and beyond.

  • Investigate specific techniques to reduce the Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR) (and hence reduce linearity constraints) when operating either multiple 5G-NR or DVB-S2x carriers in a single satellite transmission path.

  • Propose a list of recommended follow-up activities to overcome the identified performance issues (esp. related to 5G NR/NTN).


Some potential challenges related to the technology comparison are:

  • So called “apples-to-apples” comparison between the DVB-S2X/RCS2 and 5G NR/NTN technologies, both at link and system level, i.e., scenarios, assumptions, parameters, and models need to be the same or at least comparable.

  • Project dependency on progress of ETSI SES-SCN work item, which may affect the project schedule in terms of scenario, parameter, and model assumption agreements. On the other hand, the MARINA project aims to actively contribute and drive the standardization such that the standardization schedule and project schedule can be met.

  • There is a possibility for LLS and SLS simulation results inconsistencies for a given technology. The objective is to use the LLS simulation results as an input to the SLS to avoid any inconsistencies.


The project provides multiple benefits:

  • Serve as an impartial reference to help system architects, service integrators, and technology developers optimise their future offering.

  • An understanding of the relative performance of the two protocols across the range of system scenarios and operational conditions used to support the full range of satellite communications services is therefore needed to determine which protocol is likely optimum in each operational system.

  • Ensure active participating in ETSI SES-SCN “Comparison of DVB-S2x/RCS2 and 3GPP 5G-NR NTN based systems for broadband satellite communication systems” work item.

  • Influence 3GPP standardization in terms of new NTN related features/optimizations/improvements for Release-18 and beyond.


The technical comparison of DVB-S2X/RCS2 and 5G NR/NTN is done on three levels:

  • Theoretical studies and comparisons

  • Link Level Simulations (LLS)

  • System Level Simulations (SLS)

System Architecture

The system level simulations used within the project are:

  • ALIX 5G TN/NTN SLS developed earlier in ESA ALIX AO 8985 “Support to Standardisation of Satellite 5G Component” project.

  • Satellite Network Simulator 3 (SNS3) simulator, modelling DVB-S2X/RCS2 GEO system, developed earlier in ESA AO6947 “Development of an Open-Source, Modular and Flexible Satellite Network Simulator” project.

Both simulators are designed and developed by Magister Solutions. The link level simulators used within the activity are proprietary.

The evaluated system scenarios within the project are heavily inspired by 3GPP NTN simulation scenarios, assumptions, and parameters.


The project started in June 2023 and with 10 months duration is scheduled to end in April 2024. The work has been divided into following work packages:

  • WP1: Reference Scenario Descriptions and Definition of the Simulation Tools

  • WP2: SES-SCN Support

  • WP3: Protocols Performance Comparison

  • WP4: Conclusions, Roadmap and Recommendations

  • WP5: Project Management

Current status

Project started officially on 12.6.2023 and an internal KO meeting was held on 19.6.2023.

Prime Contractor