Test-Bench for NB-IoT Protocols over Satellite

CCww is turning its attention towards the eventual unifying of IoT for Cellular and Satellite operation. This will require modifications to the protocol-stack and underlying PHY, for both eNodeBs and UEs, to address the different propagation environment; these changes are subject of the forthcoming 3GPP Release-17.

Outline of LEO Operation

The LEO satellite, with on-board eNB, continually moves across the earth's surface. UEs on the surface are able to communicate with the satellite when it is briefly overhead, when the signal is strong. When moving towards the UE, there is a positive Doppler, which turns negative when the satellite has passed overhead.


Project Outline

In anticipation of 3GPP Release-17, CCww is developing a Software NB-IoT Test-Bench, with the following aims:

  • validate emerging Release-17; provide possible suggestions for future standards update
  • compare and characterise LEO and GEO operation
  • explore location of eNode-B and elements of Core Network in space vs ground
  • set system-wide performance expectations; identify capacity for mix of use-cases; warn of impending overload; explore impact of introducing new groups and classes of users ahead of deployment
  • provide software IP for NTN SoC design; or framework to introduce licensee's IP, with clear specification for required NTN customisation
  • provide specification for licensee eNB design
  • AND a framework to validate, diagnose anomalies, test updates and fixes ahead of deployment

tb Test-Bench System Outline (software)

The Test-Bench software outline is shown above. It may be licensed as a whole or by individual element (to allow licensee IP to be inserted and customised).

NB NTN UE Protocol-Stack and eNB

The outline customisations for NTN-operation are shown below:

  • protocol-stack for execution on Xilinx Zynq Z7020, with SDR:
    • multiple instantiation (CPU/Memory dependent) - say X10+
    • Multiple identities for each instantiation - say X16+
    • Handling of LEo/GEO phase-noise, doppler, and additional delay/latency
  • For use with partner customised (NTN) NB-IoT PHY / RF combination
    • Physical Layer Procedure for UL and DL
    • Digital Front End Driver for AD9361 Radio on Z7020
  • Manager for instantiation/USe-Cases/Identities
  • target Release-17 (when approved)
  • selected Release-17 features (see below)
  • Licence for laboratory evaluation, test, and demonstration
    • executable and ANSI C-code option
    • Licence whole or in part
    • Substitute licenses own iP for modification and Test
  • Licence upgrAde for UE Development and manufacture

The Test-Bed comprises:

  • Customised protocol-stack / PHY executable for Windows, inc:
    • NAS: Bearer Control, AT-Cmd Interface, ESM, ESMS, REG, EMM
    • USIM Interface
  • Partner eNB Executable for ARM Cortex-A With SDR
  • Skeleton Core network
  • Requires IZT Channel Emulator
    • programmed for variable Doppler, phase-noise, power-level
  • diagnostic tools
  • Test cases and test execution script
    • jHAT protocol diagnostic toolset
    • diagnostic tools
    • SYSTem Manager
  • user-guide

Find out more about Test-Bench here

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