Given the prevalence of modern smartphones and technologies like 5G, you might think that satellite phones are a thing of the past. However, Apple recently introduced their Emergency SOS feature in all current iPhone 14 models, and it will likely become a mainstay feature in future releases. However, they’re not the only company that is pairing satellites with next-gen technology.
Samsung’s New Satellite Technology
Announced in early 2023, the development team at Samsung has already proven their ability to connect 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) technology with modern smartphones. While it’s really meant for use in remote areas, where smartphone reception is limited, Samsung’s new satellite technology is expected to be integrated into their upcoming release of the Samsung Exynos Modem 5300.
But there’s another reason behind the new technology, too. Samsung hopes to leverage this technology as a means of ushering in the next wage of 6G devices. Although early 6G tests have already proven successful, the technology isn’t expected to be rolled out commercially until the late 2020s at the earliest.
Min Goo Kim, Executive Vice President of Communication Processor Development with Samsung Electronics, summarized the latest development by saying: “This milestone builds on our rich legacy in wireless communications technologies, following the introduction of the industry’s first commercial 4G LTE modem in 2009 and the industry’s first 5G modem in 2018. Samsung aims to take the lead in advancing hybrid terrestrial-NTN communications ecosystems around the world in preparation for the arrival of 6G.”
The Exynos Modem 5300 in a Nutshell
Currently available in the Google Pixel 7 and also slated for the upcoming Google Pixel 8, Samsunig’s Exynos Modem 5300 is already seeing widespread use. As such, we already have a good idea of its hardware specifications and performance benchmarks.
In its current iteration, the Exynos Modem 5300 is capable of achieving download speeds of 10Gbps with upload speeds as high as 3.87Gbps. On LTE networks, however, these speeds are limited to 3Gbps download and 433Mbps upload. Other specifications are noted below:
• 5G NR: 3GPP Rel. 16, Sub-6GHz, mmWaveNSA/SA
• Supported modes: LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, HSPA, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA, CDMA, GSM/EDGE
• Downlink: NR DL aggregated bandwidth, 200 MHz, 4x4 MMO, and up to 256-QAM (sub-6GHz) / 800 MHz, 2x2 MMO, up to 64-QAM (mmWave)
• Uplink: NR UL aggregated bandwidth, 400 MHz and up to 256-QAM (sub-6GHz) / 800 MHz and up to 64-QAM in mmWave, 2x2 MMO
What are Non-Terrestrial Networks?
Generally speaking, non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) are wireless communication networks that exist above the Earth’s surface. This is accomplished by using various low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO), and geostationary orbit (GEO) satellites. While they are used for normal, day-to-day communications, the ultimate goal is to provide mobile access to remote areas that currently lack access to modern smartphone networks.
Samsung and Google Team up For the Future
Now that the Google Pixel 7 has been out for years and the Pixel 8 is almost ready to be released, it will be interesting to see what Samsung and Google have to offer in the future – especially when 6G technology finally rolls out in the late 2020s.
Will Samsung Embrace Satellite Internet?
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