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6G-SANDBOX Signs MoU with ESA to Integrate Satellites with 5G and 6G Communications

News from June 06, 2023

On 6 June 2023, 6G-SANDBOX, a pan-European testbed for 6G experimentation funded by Smart Networks and Service Joint Undertaking under Horizon Europe, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Space Agency (ESA) to advance innovation used to integrate satellites with terrestrial networks built on 5G and future 6G technologies by connecting 6G-SANDBOX testbeds with ESA 5G/6G Hubs.

The collaboration with ESA means the 6G-SANDBOX project will add the integration of non-terrestrial network (NTN) capabilities to the testbed by incorporating satellite connectivity across a range of different orbits, including Geostationary (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This ensures that the 6G-SANDBOX testbed will enable validation of novel NTN topologies equipping it with necessary additional 5G and 6G test capabilities. With the creation of an Open Innovation Laboratory (OIL), the parties aim to establish interconnected facilities, which will expand the testing capability of 6G Sandbox over hybrid terrestrial/satellite networks.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation with a mission to provide for and to promote cooperation among European states in space research and technology and their space applications, which includes building out ubiquitous connectivity for Earth. Since 2021, ESA’s 5G/6G Hub has showcased terrestrial and non-terrestrial network convergence, providing market solutions enabled by 5G and upcoming 6G over satellite. The Hub is part of ESA’s Space for 5G/6G and Sustainable Connectivity Strategic Programme, established to promote space networks in 5G/6G standards and support the space industry in developing technologies, products and services that bridge the digital divide.

6G-Sandbox offers organizations opportunities to conduct trials at four experimental platforms located in Malaga/Spain, Berlin/Germany, Oulu/Finland, and Athens/Greece. One of the four 6G-SANDBOX experimental platforms will be established at Fraunhofer FOKUS in Berlin.

6G-SANDBOX was launched in January 2023, with Keysight Technologies as the project’s coordinator, along with sixteen other organisations (COSMOTE; Eurescom; FOGUS Innovations & Services P.C.; Fraunhofer FOKUS; ICTFICIAL OY, INFOLYSIS P.C.; Institute for Software Engineering and Technologies (ITIS) at the University of Malaga; Lenovo; IS-Wireless (ISRD), National Centre for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS” (NCSRD); Nokia eXtended Reality Lab; OpenNebula Sytems SL; OWO; Queen's University Belfast; Telefonica, and University of Oulu.).