Iridium makes Certus 100 available for IoT

  • November 17, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Virginia-based satellite communications company Iridium has made its Certus 100 midband service commercially available for maritime, land mobile, IoT, aviation and government users.

Certus 100 provides capabilities for satellite connectivity, enabling small, low-profile antennas and battery-powered devices designed for increased mobility, but with IP data speeds that efficiently support sending important pictures, emails and other vital information from remote places.

It debuts with several Iridium Connected partner products and aims to address market demand for satcoms requiring small form factor and battery or line-powered mobile equipment, capable of two-way IP data and high-quality voice services.

To date, Iridium has certified over a dozen partner-built products that will provide weather-resilient connections up to 88kbit/s, with more in development. Certus 100 products are suitable for autonomous vehicles such as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), remote monitoring of facilities or equipment, and personal communications devices that include messaging, photos and low-resolution video.

The small, handheld portability of the equipment means many devices can be battery powered or integrated as an onboard communications system for vessels, aircraft and connected vehicles.

“Our new Iridium Certus 100 midband service is designed for applications that are agile, remote and need more throughput than our traditional narrowband offerings, but don’t demand the speeds or larger, heavier antennas used in our popular Iridium Certus broadband,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “The impressive number of new products coming to market from our partners tells us that we’re addressing an important new capability that has never been addressed by satellite operators before.”

Among the first products available are the SkyLink by Blue Sky Network and LT-4100 by Lars Thrane. SkyLink is a dual-mode data manager for land, air, sea and IoT applications, which has already been chosen for integration into UAVs and USVs. Available in each of the four vertical configurations, SkyLink is adaptive with efficient size, weight and power features, making it suitable for mid-sized vessels, vehicles, remote monitoring stations, industrial IoT, unmanned systems, and government and military aviation.

The LT-4100 has been designed for the professional mariner, particularly for deep sea fishing and workboats. However, it also works for the leisure market with IP data capabilities supporting messaging and email. The terminal has been engineered to withstand the demanding and rough environment at sea and comes standard with two high-quality voice lines.

Some of the additional products approaching commercial availability or in beta testing include the Flylogix UAV system, Ground Control’s RockRemote, the McQ Connect and the NAL Research Quicksilver QS-100.

The Flylogix UAV system is used for routine offshore emissions monitoring and infrastructure inspection. This system is serving multiple territories around the world and is now capable of real-time data delivery as well as its existing command and control.

The RockRemote from Ground Control is an IP-based, dual-mode LTE-satellite communications device for industrial IoT applications, suitable for remote sites operated by utilities, renewables, oil and gas businesses. It offers companies the ability to manage their off-the-grid assets with a full Linux OS and integrated storage allowing for edge computing that brings added intelligence, security and cost-effectiveness to applications.

The McQ Connect is a small satcom modem for government applications that can send and receive information in real time over IP networks. It can augment existing McQ devices such as the McQ Owl, enabling it to transmit video and high-quality photos, or it can serve as an integrated communications device for mobile assets. Data are transported in real-time through a secure cloud network enabling command and control of remote assets globally.

The QS-100 has been designed for diverse and demanding government missions as well as commercial applications. It is built for standalone use and embedded platform integration, enabling reliable communications in tough environments from anywhere in the world. Quicksilver’s midband speeds and compact size make it suitable for staying connected. From data links and command and control of unmanned systems to diagnostic monitoring applications, Quicksilver is said to deliver data when and where needed.

Certus 100 midband speeds can support email, messaging applications such as WhatsApp, media sharing, telemetry reporting, file transfer, internet and VPN access, and up to two simultaneous high-quality voice calls. When combined with Iridium partner data compression technologies, it also supports low-resolution video transmission for surveillance and monitoring applications.

Certus is an L-band satellite service platform, offering the flexibility to scale device speeds, sizes and power requirements up and down based on the needs of the user. Delivered over the recently upgraded Iridium satellite constellation, the Certus service goes beyond serving solely as a connectivity option. It provides a platform for the company’s partners to develop specialised broadband, midband and narrowband applications to connect people and assets, made possible by Iridium’s crosslinked L-band network.

Iridium’s mobile voice and data satellite communications network spans the entire globe. It enables connections between people, organisations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. In 2019, the company completed a generational upgrade of its satellite network and launched the Certus specialty broadband service. Iridium Communications is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.