Skip to Main Content
Mobile satellite services are attracting renewed attention stemming from the FCC ancillary terrestrial component ruling that allows satellite spectrum to be used for integrated terrestrial services in the footprint of the satellite. This attention is focused on the development of dual-mode satellite-terrestrial devices to facilitate hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks intended by the ATC order. The satellite component in these dual-mode devices is best adapted from the air interface chosen for the ATC to optimize form factor, especially for small hand-held devices, mobility management, power efficiency, and a common core network functionality. With the advent of WiMAX as a viable 4G technology, satellite adaptation of WiMAX has been considered for the satellite services coupled with WiMAX ATC. The main considerations for satellite adaptation of WiMAX, relative to its terrestrial counterpart, are reduced link margin and longer transmission delays - both absolute delay from the center of a spot beam to the satellite and differential delay between the beam edge and the beam center to the satellite. These considerations suggest adaptation of the sub-channelization schemes, the frame synchronization methods, and the ranging process in WiMAX to make it operable over satellite, while keeping the general framework of the WiMAX protocol stack intact, thereby facilitating the incorporation of S-WiMAX into a common baseband processor with terrestrial WiMAX; this allows S-WiMAX to be added to terrestrial WiMAX devices with minimal cost and form-factor impact. Methods for these adaptations are considered here.