Mavenir base stations power Ligado 5G IoT satellite network

  • August 25, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Mavenir is to develop base stations for Virginia-based mobile communications company Ligado Networks’ plan to deploy the first 5G mobile satellite network for the IoT.

The base stations will provide connectivity services that enable business-critical operations anywhere in North America.

Ligado’s 5G satellite IoT network will support tens of millions of mobile devices powering critical M2M communications for businesses requiring ubiquitous, continental coverage. The company plans to launch service trials in 2022, providing standalone satellite or multi-layer connections to enterprise customers in the transportation, agriculture, utilities and energy sectors.

The satellite network adds extended coverage and network redundancy to the company’s planned 5G mobile private network, thereby enabling always-on connectivity and coverage across an enterprise’s entire footprint. It will also add to the capabilities of other terrestrial wireless operators by making use of mainstream, low-cost chipsets and devices that can support both mobile satellite and terrestrial connectivity.

“We are deeply committed to supporting critical infrastructure enterprises as they modernise their operations for a 21st century economy,” said Ligado CEO Doug Smith. “Ubiquitous network coverage and reliability are especially essential for critical device communications, which makes our 5G satellite IoT network a pivotal tool to ensure always-on connectivity and data management for an enterprise’s entire fleet of devices.”

Ligado plans to adapt 3GPP -based technology for mobile satellite use, which will enable the network to support devices using mainstream, low-cost chipsets that can also operate on terrestrial IoT networks. With the 22m reflector-based antenna of Ligado’s SkyTerra 1 satellite, the network will also support the small, low-cost IoT devices being used for applications such as vehicle diagnostics, environmental monitoring, first-responder connectivity and smart metering.

Texas-based Mavenir’s portfolio of cloud native offerings provides mobile core, IoT and Open vRAN for 5G.

“We are excited to work with Ligado on Open RAN-based 5G base station development,” said Pardeep Kohli, CEO of Mavenir. “With this engagement, Mavenir and the Open RAN ecosystem not only strengthen their place in enterprise deployments but also enter a phase of innovation in cellular service delivery via non-terrestrial networks. We are looking forward to expanding our Open RAN product portfolio to meet the evolving needs of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks and their co-existence in the future.”

The partnership highlights Ligado’s position in developing IoT standards for mobile satellite networks. The company has led work within the 3GPP to develop such standards, which should help satellite and terrestrial networks operate in harmony.

“We’re delighted to apply Mavenir’s unmatched 5G network technology prowess to deliver 3GPP-based IoT services via the crucial mobile satellite network layer,” said Ligado chief technology officer Maqbool Aliani. “Ligado’s uniquely capable North American satellite network unlocks a highly compelling market by bringing mainstream IoT devices to a continental satellite footprint.”

Building on 25 years of experience providing satellite connectivity, Ligado says its mission is to modernise American businesses by delivering secure and reliable 5G connectivity to transform their operations and realise the efficiencies of a digital world. The plan is to deploy licensed mid-band spectrum in public and private 5G networks to help pave the way for future innovations and economic growth.

Mavenir is an end-to-end, cloud-native network software provider focused on transforming the way the world connects, accelerating software network transformation for more than 250 communications service providers in over 120 countries, which serve more than half of the world’s subscribers.