Narrowband IoT for full network coverage

Narrowband IoT for full network coverage

Working with leading Mobile Network Operator Telefonica, Spanish based satellite communications company Sateliot were looking for a proof of concept to demonstrate the effectiveness of Narrowband (NB) IoT technology. Historically, those industries that benefit from the use of remote locations such as the agriculture sector, maritime and livestock, often found that the lack of effective network coverage in these areas meant it became difficult to monitor their assets and facilities. 

For Sateliot and Telefonica, the objective was to show that full network coverage could be achieved through a combination of existing terrestrial networks and the new NB IoT non terrestrial network (NTN).

Seamless network connectivity

Over the duration of 12 months, Sateliot worked with Open Cosmos to design and build a 3U cubesat integrated with an IoT payload engineered to connect to a host of ground sensors. Following the successful launch in March 2021, Sateliot was able to make contact with the satellite at the first pass, and, shortly afterwards, began to download data from the sensors. 

Very quickly, Sateliot was able to evidence that sensors in the field or in transit could seamlessly connect to both existing terrestrial networks and the new satellite network. Where monitoring of assets or materials was needed, such as the health of livestock or the moisture levels of soil, the satellite was able to connect to the sensors at least every 24 hours, providing an automated monitoring service.

Successful proof of concept 

The satellite has now been fully operational for over three years. During this time, Sateliot has been able to deploy their own protocol, using the 3GPP standard for non terrestrial network. From this, they have been able to evidence that the concept of NB IoT NTN can seamlessly provide the full coverage that the market requires. Some successful user cases include sustainable farming where IoT data has allowed for more accurate irrigation of crops, along with a tool to predict the likelihood of fires in California, all through the use of IoT sensors and satellite connectivity.

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