KT Corp. said its satellite-operating subsidiary, KT SAT, has successfully conducted the world’s first 5G data transmission with a satellite connection.

The test was aimed to expand the fifth-generation technology linked to KT’s 5G network and KT SAT’s KOREASAT 6, located some 36,000 kilometers above the equator, said the leading Korean telecom provider.

KT SAT and the KT Institute of Convergence Technology executed the project together. They implemented “hybrid terrestrial-satellite 5G transmission,” which combines different networks to deliver data better than typical 5G service, and “5G edge cloud media transmission using satellite communications backhaul links.” That meshes satellite communications with the content delivery network (CDN) for video transmissions from the 5G edge cloud.

The 5G edge cloud can be seen as a virtual data center. It handles data generated from user terminals at the nearest possible spot in order to maximize the 5G capacity for ultra-low latency.

The key to hybrid satellite-terrestrial 5G transmission is a router jointly developed by the KT institute and KT SAT. 5G terminals connected to this device can simultaneously transmit and receive various data, or use separate routes, to and from a 5G network and a satellite.

KT SAT, by using this technology, successfully maintained normal service operations with KOREASAT 6 alone, after the 5G network was intentionally disconnected.

The test showed how the hybrid 5G transmission technology can enable 5G-based automated machinery or moving vehicle to maintain its network connection when 5G coverage becomes unavailable, or a natural disaster has occurred.

Currently, KT SAT operates five communication satellites  KOREASAT 5, 5A, 6, 7 and 8. They can have coverage to some 60 percent of the total surface area of Earth.