The Department of Defense is supporting 5G testing and experimentation projects at military installations through a $600 million program and the satellite industry is keeping an eye on such experiments and how DOD would further advance 5G amid the increasing integration of non-terrestrial networks into the 5G ecosystem, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.
Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of defense and intelligence systems division at Hughes Network Systems, said he thinks DOD could employ satellites in low-Earth orbit to deliver 5G services to mobile users.
“What we’re doing now is terrestrial. But what’s coming next is that a 5G standard is going to be adopted for space. So we’re going to be talking about satellite-direct-to-phone connections, probably using LEO networks,” he said.
The Third Generation Partnership Project’s latest standards release covering non-terrestrial networks marks a key development for space-based 5G and Lober said the Pentagon can take advantage of it.
“5G gives you much higher throughput, and much lower latency. And what a lot of people don’t realize is that lower latency allows you to do edge computing on the battlefield,” he added.