Taking full advantage of IMT, the latest Iridium network service evolution, Ground Control is proud to announce the development of a new Satellite IoT delivery network. This ultra-efficient solution is designed to meet the needs of IoT applications that require transmission of larger data payloads from very remote locations.
What is Iridium Messaging Transport (IMT)?
The new IMT service from Iridium is designed for IoT / M2M applications, and joins several other satellite airtime services in this space. So what makes IMT different?
This table compares these satellite services to each other, not to the broader ecosystem of connectivity options.
Message Based vs IP Based
The simplest distinction between these two means of communication is that message-based services send discrete data packets at intervals determined by the owner / operator; IP-based services can send and receive data continuously. An advantage of IP-based connections is that many, particularly legacy, applications, use TCP/IP protocols, and so data can pass seamlessly between different systems. The major benefit of utilising message-based connections is that they are far lower cost, because you’re only billed for the data payload and not for any communication overhead (e.g. TCP).
Iridium already has a message-based airtime service called Short Burst Data, or SBD; Inmarsat has a similar service called IDP (IsatData Pro). Both are designed for very small amounts of data: environmental monitoring and asset tracking for example.
Iridium introduced Certus 100 which offers the ability to send more data, more frequently, and is ideal for legacy installations and telemetry streaming applications.
IMT sits in between these two services; with the ability to send 100 KB per message, far more data can be transmitted than via the SBD or IDP services, but because it’s message-based, it remains a lower cost solution than Certus 100.
Total Cost of Ownership
IMT airtime is more expensive than SBD airtime, but lower cost than Certus 100 airtime because you’re charged for the data payload only. We would recommend IMT is leveraged in mission-critical use cases, where the value of receiving the data far outweighs the cost of retrieving it.
A device leveraging the IMT service will generally use less power than a device using Certus 100, because the data is sent and received on demand, and data packets can be optimised. However, simply because the message can be up to 100 KB – that’s enough to send compressed images – an IMT-enabled device will use more power than an SBD or IDP equivalent. Battery and solar power is an option, but mains power is preferred.
Which Devices Utilise IMT?
At this time, there are very few devices that can access the IMT service; Ground Control’s RockREMOTE and RockREMOTE Rugged are two of them. With the RockREMOTE you can use a combination of connectivity options: Certus 100, LTE-M, and/or IMT. Users configure the device to use the airtime that is most economical for their particular use case; Ground Control will consult and assist with this exercise if needed.
When Would You Use IMT?