How 5G Space-based networks will change our lives

Interview: OQ Technology, CEO Omar Qaise

 

Luxembourg-based OQ Technology recently used GomSpace’s two GOM-X4 cubesats in low Earth orbit to demonstrate waveforms for a future constellation. The tests began in July and will continue until the end of the year.

In an interview with the LSA, Omar Qaise, founder and CEO of OQ Technology, explains how 5G Space-based networks will change our lives.

 

What is your future vision for OQ Technology?

Our vision is to enable every cellular device to speak the same language as satellites, and to help mobile operators deploy 5G massive machine communications globally, through space.

 

Is 5G going noticeably different?

From consumer to industrial applications, 5G is going to change our lives.

This shift will be a once in a decade upgrade of the wireless system, because 5G networks are developed with the ambition of supporting a wide range of demanding services and applications.

5G technology pushes network capabilities to provide extreme performance, including support for massively interconnected devices. It’s expected there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.

 

So you are extending the range of 5G technology?

Well, today, only about 25 percent of the world’s landmass is served by cell towers. The rest of the land, and all of the world’s oceans, have no coverage.

To enable 5G, massive machine connectivity, in remote and rural areas, coverage needs to be available beyond cell towers.

Traditional legacy satellites cannot handle this service as they are extremely expensive. These satellites are also 36,000 Km away from the Earth, so they introduce the problem of latency.

For 5G IoT to work, low latencies of few milliseconds is a must.

 

Your technology solves these problems?

OQ Technology enables mobile operators to extend 5G massive IoT and machine communication beyond cities and cell towers, by offering global coverage using our nano-satellite constellation.

It does this while pushing the latency down to fiber-like speed by using low earth orbits of a few hundred kilometers.

 

What is the OQ Technology solution, in a nutshell?

OQ Technology provides a 5G IoT “Network as a Service” that can be used by  mobile operators to serve their end customers, or by massive machine2machine communication users.

Interview Omar Qaise

 

Why is it so expensive to send mobile data from remote areas?

Today, sending 1 megabyte of mobile data from remote and rural areas costs in some cases 2000 x more than it does in a city. This is due to the extremely high level of capital expenditure associated with building and launching large satellites, and using complex infrastructure consisting of giant antennas and bulky user terminals.

At OQ, we want to change this. Using our satellite network, a user who relies on his or her cellular IoT device to communicate while in the city, would be able to use the same device, anywhere in the world, seamlessly. All it takes is a simple software upgrade.

 

This sounds like a much more efficient system

Consumer and industrial users no longer need separate terrestrial and satellite communication systems. They’ll be unified under one wireless system. This will massively reduce the costs of ownership and operation.

There’s a huge range of industries that stand to benefit from the ability to manage and track assets in remote areas. The energy sector, maritime, smart metering, predictive maintenance, SCADA applications. Not to mention transport and logistics.

 

OQ are based in Luxembourg, how are you supported by the Luxembourg Space Agency?

We are supported by LSA through the Luxembourg national space program LuxIMPULSE.

We started in 2017 with a feasibility study that was successful and we continue towards implementing and testing the technology.

NB - IoT / The Tiger 1 Mission
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