The continuously growing volume of mobile data, further assisted by the densification of base stations & access points places an increasingly heavy burden on the backhaul segment of the network. Leveraging the satellite segment as a way to relieve some of this burden is an approach that has been recently gained traction. For example, LTE/4G access served by satellite backhaul has been recently demonstrated, leading to a growing consensus that satellites should be part of the 5G networks. This vision is further exacerbated by the broadband and broadcast capabilities of satellites, as well as their wide area coverage that enables access at affordable cost and disaster resilience.
Based on the above, this proposed special track is focused around the concept of hybrid satellite / terrestrial networks that can serve jointly and in a better way the increasing backhauling needs of current, emerging and future mobile networks. Given the immaturity of the field, a number of key issues have yet to be explored, ranging from the required network architecture to the modelling of the involved channels (at 18GHz and 28 GHz) and interference, to the development of interference avoidance / mitigation techniques, possibly assisted by antenna arrays, to the definition of network virtualization and software defined networking for better end-to- end service provisioning.
The proposed special session is fueled by a number of recent results in two EU (H2020) research projects that are active in these research areas: SANSA (www.sansa-h2020.eu), which focuses on ensuring high capacity and resilience of these types of hybrid networks assisted by advanced antenna systems and VITAL (www.ict- vital.eu), which targets SDN- based, federated resource management for a unified control plane that would allow operators to efficiently manage and optimise the operation of hybrid SatCom- Terrestrial networks.