ICSSC Colloquium

40th ICSSC 2023 Colloquium: Direct Satellite to Cellular Mobile Services

Bradford, UK, Monday October 23rd, 2023

Co-Chairs: Rajeev Gopal (Hughes, USA), Glyn Thomas (Airbus, UK)

Rajeev Gopal

Dr. Rajeev Gopal is Vice President, Advanced Programs at Hughes Network Systems, and is responsible for resilient communications, LEO, 5G, HTS, AI/ML and cyber programs within Hughes Defense. He was on the system design of the OneWeb LEO broadband network using 4G/5G and IP network technologies. He earlier served as Network System Engineering lead for Transformational Satellite (TSAT) space segment (with onboard layer 3 packet processing) and was a lead architect for SPACEWAY® 3 (with onboard L2 processing) system, and worked on Mobile Satellite systems (Thuraya, ICO, LEO Teledesic) development teams.
Dr. Gopal holds 11 patents on satellite/communications systems, and has served on various working groups, technical program committees, and editorial boards, in addition to founding a bioinformatics company. He is a dual major graduate in Physics and Electrical Engineering from BITS Pilani and earned a PhD in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University.

Glyn Thomas

Glyn Thomas is a Senior Expert in flexible, processed and HTS payloads for both commerical and governmental applications. He is responsible for overall payload strategy within Airbus Defence and Space covering GEO, MEO and LEO.
Glyn was deputy chief engineer for Airbus Defence and Space payload equipment’s division during the period 2010 to 2014. He previously managed research and development where he generated several key patents in the fields of flexible communications payloads.
Prior to this, Glyn worked in both systems engineering and microwave design roles on the RADARSAT 2 Synthetic Aperture RADAR system. Glyn graduated from St. Andrews University with a degree in Theoretical Physics and also holds a Master’s degree in Microwave Solid State Physics.

Colloquium Synopsis

The AIAA CMSTC (Communications Systems Technical Committee), under the auspices of the International Communication Satellite Systems Conference (ICSSC), has a long history of organizing successful colloquium events that address emerging technologies of interest to the satellite communications community. Last year’s 39th ICSSC Colloquium on Megaconstellations, held in Stresa Italy, and was attended by large number of experts across industry, academia, and government.

This year’s 40th ICSSC Colloquium will be held in Bradford UK on Monday 23rd October 2023. The topic of Satellite-to-Cell, or Direct-to-Mobile Service has been a rapidly evolving ecosystem and is a timely next step building upon on last year’s colloquium topic on Megaconstellations. In the interest of our target international audience for this colloquium, we have a comprehensive technical, business, and regulatory coverage for this year’s topic - Direct Satellite to Cellular Mobile Services. Specific areas to be addressed by the distinguished panel of experts include:

  • State of the Direct-to-Cell industry – technology and market
  • Standalone or integral part of global information highway
  • Business models (Emergency, IoT, enterprise, Defense): system’s financial viability
  • System designs - bent-pipe/processing payload Trade-offs and smart hybrid terminals
  • Retrofitting legacy constellations or designing new systems
  • User equipment as-is or custom additions for Direct-to-Cell
  • Prominent system funding, development and deployments
  • Longer term implications for communications industry – GEO, 5G, IoT
  • Regulatory: spectrum and orbital safety; industry government collaboration

The final session of the program will be reserved for questions from the audience in a workshop type setting. Colloquium registrants will be given access to the presentation slides for their personal use.
The Colloquium will be held in Midland hotel, Bradford which is also the location of the 40th ICSSC, which starts on October 24. The location is a short drive or steam train journey away from the world-famous Bronte Country, home of the Bronte Sisters, Emily, Charlotte & Anne where the literaray geniuses created novels such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights. The Colloquium hotel is also next to Forster Square Train Station, which is a 15-minute journey to Leeds or the World Heritage site Saltaire.

Preliminary 40th ICSSC 2023 Colloquium Program

Colloquium Opening: 9:00 – 9:20

The ICSSC 2023 Executive Chair and Colloquium Co-Chairs will welcome attendees and open the Colloquium

Session 1 (Keynote): Direct-to-Cell Keynote – 9:20 – 10:00
Global Connectivity - Challenges and Opportunities

Keynote Speaker will provide a review of diverse use cases for connecting humans and machines further augmented with direct-to-device networks and complementing existing terrestrial and space platforms and discuss unique challenges and opportunities that extend existing systems. This includes truly pervasive approaches that leverage the best of diverse technologies within the integration framework of 3GPP including non-terrestrial network nodes for Direct-to-cell approaches. With global coverage across all oceans and continents being the primary differentiator, the space segment, recharged with megaconstellations, will eventually be indispensable for global connectivity including support for emergency, disaster relief, and security.

Session 2 (Panel): Innovative Use Cases Possible with Megaconstellations (10:00-11:00)

Leaders representing MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), public authorities, satellite service providers, and equipment manufacturers will discuss how new Direct-to-cell systems, instead of replacing incumbent technologies, can complement terrestrial and legacy space networks to provide ubiquitous coverage, capacity, and broadcast efficiencies. Besides offering important societal and economic benefits, this unification will also support enhancing emergency/disaster management and national security.

Session 3 (Panel): Direct-to-Cell Services - Business and Strategy  (11:15 – 12:30)

Session 3 will be a panel with major industry players including network providers and system designers, to accommodate user requirements and multi-use cases. Panelists will debate the advantages of their technology road maps in delivering network and user equipment fulfilling demanding needs in terms of launch, size, flexibility and Capex while covering larger areas. They will address various funding and deployment strategies and share insights with respect to their unique business case priorities.

Session 4: Technical Insights with Cross Plane/Layer Designs and Future Advances (14:00 – 15:45)

Session 4 will comprise a series of technical presentations from experts involved in Direct-to-cell implementation, 5G harmonization, equipment design, and satellite payload (bentpipe/processed) trades.  This includes how space (GEO/LEO) and terrestrial systems will interoperate with key enabling technologies for mobility/roaming, security, software defined networks, artificial intelligence, cost effective electronically steered antennas, smart routing and traffic engineering, and dynamic spectrum allocation.

Session 5: Keynote - Regulatory and Governance Challenges  (16:00 – 16:45)

Keynote speaker will address challenges and opportunities related to driving governance topics (such as standardization, orbital safety, significance of dedicated S band, satellites as cellular base stations, etc.) with a distinguished speaker having government, industry, and international experience. Besides leveraging the confluence of advanced technologies, an innovative regulatory approach will be essential to address the burgeoning spectrum requirements and smart sharing.

Questions and Concluding Remarks (16:45-17:30)

The Colloquium will close with a summary of the key takeaways from the five sessions.