OpenAirInterface as a platform for 5G-NTN research and experimentation

Kumar, Sumit; Meshram, Ashish Kumar; Astro, AbdelIrahman; Querol, Jorge; Chatzinotas, Symeon; Schlichter, Thomas; Casati, Guido; Heyn, Thomas; Völk, Florian; Kaya, Sertac; Schwarz, Robert T; Knopp, Andreas; Marques, Paulo; Pereira, Luis; Magueta, Roberto; Kapovits, Adam; Kaltenberger, Florian

Technical advancements and experimental works for the integration of 5G and Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) have gained significant traction over the past few years. NTN components have been officially included in the 5G ecosystem by 3GPP in the latest Release-17. 5G-NTN research is ongoing it is desirable to have a platform that facilitates quick prototyping of the proof-of-concept methods. OpenAirInterface(OAI)
is an open-source experimental yet 3GPP standard-compliant Software Defined Radio (SDR) based protocol stack that has been widely known for implementing 4G/5G technologies. Due to its proven capabilities and flexibility, currently OAI is in the
developmental process to integrate adaptations for the 5G-NTN. In this work, we discuss the peculiar features of OAI which are shaping it towards becoming a preferred tool for research and experimentation related to 5G-NTN. We provide details of completed/ongoing 5G-NTN projects leveraging OAI to achieve their objectives. In particular, we discuss 5G-GOA and 5GLEO where significant adaptations in OAI are being done to support 5G-NTN. Such adaptations enable direct-access between
UE and gNB via transparent payload Geostationary and Nongeostationary
satellites. Both projects have closely followed 3GPP discussions over 5G-NTN and the adaptations are compliant with the currently frozen 3GPP Release-17. OAI adaptations from both projects will be merged into the main development branch of OAI. We also provide a future roadmap of OAI towards 5GNTN development. We believe that the pioneering steps taken in the course of the aforementioned projects will establish OAI as a preferred tool for 5G-NTN research and experimentations.

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