Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

Podcast: Boeing brings 5G and terrestrial tech to MEO satellites


While 5G is a relatively nascent technology, it's already playing an important role in the satellite space race. Ryan Reid, president of Boeing Commercial Satellite Systems, International, recently joined the Light Reading podcast to explain how terrestrial telecom technologies are being utilized in the new O3b mPower satellites, which Boeing is manufacturing in partnership with satellite operator SES.

SES plans to launch several medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites in mid-December and another group in Q1 of 2023.

"With O3b mPower, we've done really the same kind of approach [to smartphone development] by taking silicon chips – devices that were designed for terrestrial 5G applications – and adapting those technologies to be used in space, to give us the same kind of flexibility, scale and capacity that you can get in terrestrial devices," explained Reid.

He also discussed why it's important to include software-defined technology in the O3b mPower satellites.

"I would say the software-defined aspect of it isn't so much about reducing the hardware; it's really about increasing the capability," said Reid. "... It's more than just, can [the satellite] allocate power and bandwidth to different geographic regions? It's really about how well that can happen."

This podcast was originally published on Connecting Africa's sister site Light Reading.

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here.

Here are a few topics we covered:

  • Process of making satellites software-defined (00:14)
  • Technological advancements for O3b mPower satellites (02:23)
  • Advantages of deploying MEO versus LEO (low-Earth orbit) satellites (03:49)
  • Applying terrestrial service provider technology such as 5G to satellites (04:42)
  • Testing process for preparing satellites to be launched into space (05:56)
  • Additional technological advancements in the O3b mPower satellites (07:44)
  • Delivering connectivity to underserved areas and regions such as Africa (09:35)

Related stories and links:

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Smart Ikigega

This month's hot startup, Smart Ikigega, wants to revolutionize the rural agricultural trade ecosystem in Rwanda by helping farmers access finance and harvest insurance.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Innovation hub

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up