New satellite-based long-range IoT service to support digitalisation drive


Mobile satellite services provider, EchoStar Mobile Limited, has announced the launch of an early adopter program for pan-European satellite-based LoRa Internet of Things (IoT) service, alongside a white paper about accessing the benefits of massive IoT.

Under the program, participants in sectors such as transport and logistics, agriculture, oil and gas, and utilities will test a satellite-enabled connectivity solution that leverages the long-range, low power protocol for connecting ‘things’ to the internet. The white paper, entitled ‘Satellite-based LoRa Unlocks Europe-wide IoT’, explores use cases and how space-based connectivity can help streamline, automate and enhance IoT networks.

Telemaco Melia, vice president and general manager of EchoStar Mobile, said: “LoRa connectivity makes up 45 per cent of today’s global IoT networks; it is perfect for connecting low-powered ‘things,’ yet its reliance on terrestrial connectivity restricts its usefulness. Replacing fibre and cable with satellite connectivity, the EchoStar Mobile solution is the first real-time, bi-directional LoRa service with mobile and remote capabilities. Accelerating the adoption of massive IoT, our program already spans more than 10,000 devices, with the service expected to scale to millions of devices in Europe alone.”

A low-power networking protocol, EchoStar Mobile says that LoRa is ideal for connecting battery-powered devices; however, until now, its use has been limited to receiving data from immobile devices in areas with terrestrial connectivity. The EchoStar Mobile solution should allow sensors to roam freely in real-time while sending and receiving information.

The technology makes use of the company’s licensed S-band spectrum and capacity on the EchoStar XXI geostationary satellite with a LoRa-enabled module that integrates easily into IoT devices. Compatible with terrestrial ISM-band LoRaWAN networks, the module incorporates the compact LR1120 chipset from Semtech, making it highly portable and capable of roaming anywhere within the satellite footprint, which spans the European continent.

Melia continued: “Big data is the new currency in a world of accelerating change. The rapid collection, processing, and management of data is vital for optimising industrial processes and changing society through innovation, whether by supporting the wider development of Smart Cities or the transition to renewable energy. Achieving the full potential of IoT means accessing data from thousands of machines, factories, or distribution facilities, however remote, and bringing it to a central point for analysis and insight. The EchoStar Mobile satellite-enabled LoRa network enables industries to use IoT in innovative ways that can transform their operations.”

The EchoStar Mobile LoRa early adopter program will run through 2022 with commercial availability expected around the end of the year.

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