How satellite IoT complements cellular and LPWAN networks
Satellite connectivity extends your IoT network coverage, and is often used for gateway data backhaul, or as an alternative means of communication in areas lacking LPWAN or cellular coverage. It delivers instant infrastructure in remote or inaccessible zones and for mobile assets transitioning between terrestrial network coverage areas. For more information on one of our real-world examples, see Using Satellite Connectivity for LoRaWAN data backhaul.
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E.g. telemetry, sensor data. A few bytes to a few kilobytes.
For low volumes of data, messaging services are highly cost effective. (If you’re not familiar with messaging services, it’s not dissimilar to how SMS works but over satellite). You should investigate Iridium SBD and Inmarsat IDP for critical applications, or cubesats.
E.g. video. Megabytes to gigabytes.
If you need to transmit high volumes of IoT data, it’s worth exploring Starlink or VSAT solutions.
YES, MY DEVICE DOES
Great, edge computing, reporting by exception and condition-based logging will help reduce the amount of data you need to transmit, potentially opening up messaging services for your application.
If it’s essential that your data is delivered in close to real-time, you need to consider the network maturity, visibility and latency. Iridium-powered devices have the lowest latency and the broadest visibility. Inmarsat BGAN M2M and ScadaSAT by TSAT also offer very low latency and very high reliability of data delivery.
If you can wait for your data (i.e. store and forward), you can optimize your delivery, and look at networks that have fewer satellites in orbit (newer LEO constellations like Swarm, for example).
If you operate national critical infrastructure, you may need something with zero reliance on public infrastructure. Have a look at the SCADASat, which gives you a private satellite network.
You either need an auto-pointing device to connect with a geostationary satellite (such as Inmarsat) or – and it’s usually a better option – an omni-directional antenna which speaks to a satellite constellation in low earth orbit (such as Iridium) which will retain constant contact with your things as they move.
Only established low earth orbit satellite constellations work well in the polar regions so you’re looking at Iridium.
Data security is a priority but not necessarily a concern. Satellite data traffic is already relatively secure meeting most military and government security standards. But you may want to consider a public static LPS and/or completely configurable firewalls, to assist your data getting from A to B.
If your application requires higher levels of security, it’s worth exploring data encryption options. You can encrypt data prior to transmission, send over satellite link and then decrypt once landed. With Ground Control you can also set up a VPN from our data centre direct to your server, creating a secure, virtual tunnel.
If you require a completely private, secure network have a look at the SCADASat. This service offers customers their own dedicated frequency on the space segment – an extremely secure solution with relatively low OPEX costs. For Inmarsat and Iridium traffic, you can consider MPLS installation or leased-lines offering a private network solution.
Want to browse products? Head to our IoT product pages. Not sure what you need for your project, or want to talk through your options? We are a passionate team of entrepreneurs and engineers, we’ve worked on thousands of satellite IoT projects – we’re happy to talk about your project.
Once you’ve selected your preferred device, you’ll need airtime. We offer a credits-based pay-as-you-go system designed for proof of concept trials, as it keeps costs highly predictable and controlled. We also offer some of the best-priced airtime rates for Inmarsat and Iridium available today.
All of our customers gain free access to Cloudloop. This is our network-agnostic, developer-friendly, subscription, device and data management platform. Integrate directly into your eco system or consume the data via a customer-friendly, data rich UI. Or do both – you choose.
What our customers do with our hardware genuinely inspires us. Most applications involve some sort of sensor, a processor to read data from the sensor, and Ground Control providing data transmission. The possibilities aren’t quite endless but they’re not far off!
Feature development is customer-led, so if you’re not sure if our devices can deliver what you need, talk to one of our support team and we’ll see what we can do.
Worried about the cost of your satellite IoT connectivity? We get it – satellite has a reputation for being expensive. It’s different with Ground Control, though. We design and build our own devices, so we keep a firm grip on costs without compromising on quality. We have some of the lowest cost airtime service plans available. And with Cloudloop, you can set up alerts if any of your devices are over-spending, and even automatically deactivate them.
Popular satellite-enabled IoT & M2M devices
Leveraging the Iridium satellite network, the RockBLOCK 9603 offers a low-cost solution with global coverage and low latency for real-time data transmission. If you have larger data requirements, the RockREMOTE Rugged terminal supports IP and message-based protocols.
Designed for remote monitoring and control of critical infrastructure, SCADASat offers real-time data transmission, low power consumption, and high-level security.
“With the advances in satellite communication, the hopes are rising in the scientific communities regarding the possibility of unmanned vehicles with real-time feedback, fauna monitoring cameras and audio monitoring only to name a few. It is hard not to be excited by the upcoming possibilities! From MTE, thanks for making these possibilities a reality for the various experts who thrive in improving our knowledge.”
Martin Rioux, ing., Embedded System Developer
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