Satellite firm Sateliot will provide its nanosatellite constellation to the ETHER project, which seeks to use AI to combine terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks.

Andrew Wooden

July 14, 2023

2 Min Read
Communication network above Earth for global business and finance digital exchange. Internet of things (IoT), blockchain,
Communication network above Earth for global business and finance digital exchange. Internet of things (IoT), blockchain, smart connected cities, futuristic technology concept. Satellite view.

Satellite firm Sateliot will provide its nanosatellite constellation to the ETHER project, which seeks to use AI to combine terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks.

ETHER (which stands for Self-evolving terrestrial/non-terrestrial hybrid networks) is a $3.5 million project backed by the European Commission that is supposed to achieve this conjoining of infrastructure and create a ‘network of networks’ via some AI cleverness.

Its main aim appears to be connecting people in Europe who otherwise don’t have internet in some way shape or form – a number which it puts at a surprisingly high 25 million.

In this pursuit, Sateliot will now provide ETHER with its nanosatellite constellation, which it says will lay the groundwork for standardization and interoperability between its network in space and the network in the ground, via the implementation of a Unified Radio Access Network.

“The ETHER Project will provide the necessary framework for this new 6G terrestrial/non-terrestrial network ecosystem, which also involves an AI and machine learning efficient zero-touch base,” we’re told in the release.

The whole point seems to be about demonstrating how using a combination of land, air and space based infrastructure can fill in connectivity gaps. Industries such as agriculture, logistics and maritime transportation are identified as particular beneficiaries of this extra coverage the project promises.

“By entering the project, Sateliot is crossing a threshold, as we are marching in the frontline of network integration,” said Marco Guadalupi, Sateliot CTO and co-founder. “ETHER is an ambitious project for the magnitude of joining several networks and the use of AI and Machine Learning, whose effects on our society and the industry are more tangible today than ever before. We have already witnessed what developed AIs, like ChatGPT or Midjourney, are capable of doing at a user level.”

Plugging up gaps in rural areas and places otherwise untouched by terrestrial network infrastructure is the usual stated goal by satellite companies or those looking to work with them.

With this project, there’s obviously a lot of emphasis on the AI component in achieving all of this. We’re told the AI behind the network is ‘projected to self-evolve the segmented management and orchestration of the integrated network.’

It feels like a tired cliché dropping Skynet references when talking about AI by this point – but with when phrases like ‘self-evolving AI networks’ are dropped, they simply leave us no choice.

 

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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