ETSI Headquarters, Sophia Antipolis, France – 13 July 2011

Recently published ETSI TC SES specification TS 102 855 describes how broadband satellite multimedia networks can be integrated into the Next Generation Network architecture.

The Next Generation Networks (NGN) concept standardized by ETSI presents an opportunity for satellites to take a more integrated role in global telecommunications networks.  The NGN architecture can be used to provide seamless integration between fixed satellite networks and terrestrial networks as part of a wider fixed and mobile network convergence.  A new technical specification has been issued by ETSI's Technical Committee for Satellite Earth stations and Systems (TC SES) that explores the technical challenges for satellite networks to adopt this new network model.

This new specification defines the integration and interoperability of Broadband Satellite Multimedia networks with the emerging terrestrial Next Generation Network architecture.  The evolution of existing broadband satellite systems towards an NGN infrastructure will be crucial for the successful integration of satellite systems in new converged telecommunications networks.

One of the main characteristics of the NGN architecture is the uncoupling of services and underlying transport functions (i.e. network technologies), allowing services and transport to be offered separately and to evolve independently, with open interfaces provided between them.

As an example of the technical challenges, one of the main objectives of the NGN is to provide end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees to individual multimedia services / applications over a multitude of network technologies. Successful integration of satellite networks requires taking into account the specific features and constraints of satellite networks compared to terrestrial networks.

This new specification uses the ETSI TISPAN NGN Release 2 functional architecture and identifies the functions and interfaces relevant for integration of satellite networks.  One of the main functional building blocks of the TISPAN NGN architecture is the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The approach used by TC SES has been to show a migration path from existing satellite systems into a fully integrated system.  A simple starting scenario shows how basic satellite network services can be deployed over the current IMS.  Then, as IMS-based networks and applications mature, the specification shows how converged services can be interworked and integrated with other satellite and terrestrial fixed and wireless networks using a common subscriber management system and control plane.

This specification, ETSI TS 102 855, 'Interworking and Integration of BSM in Next Generation Networks', was developed by the TC SES Working Group on Broadband Satellite Multimedia (BSM) with funding provided by the EC and EFTA.

The Vice-Chair of TC SES and chair of the BSM working group, Rupert Goodings, commented:
'This specification is intended to provide a timely briefing for the satellite community to encourage the development of next generation satellite networks that can take advantage of this new network model.

I would like to thank the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association for their support of the project team experts that were responsible for this work."