Soracom and Skylo combine NTN with cellular

  • July 26, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Japanese firm Soracom is working with California-based Skylo to deliver cloud native IoT non-terrestrial network (NTN) connectivity.

The partnership should help those building IoT services have access to both service provider Skylo’s 3GPP NTN connectivity, along with the capability of Soracom’s virtualised cellular platform.

The combination of NTN-based NB-IoT connectivity and cloud-based IoT network management represents the next generation of IoT connectivity: available, affordable, ubiquitous and deeply integrated with the hyperscale cloud platforms that serve as the backbone of today’s IoT. Soracom’s virtualised global platform provides full MVNO capability paired with connectivity management tools.

Since 2021, Soracom has offered unified, single-pane-of-glass management for connectivity options from cellular and LPWA to wifi and satellite. In 2022, Soracom added native support for satellite messaging capability, allowing users to manage satellite IoT devices and billing directly through the Soracom platform. Skylo’s satellite NTN lets chipsets, modems, modules and devices designed for terrestrial networks connect via existing satellites using the global 3GPP Release 17 standard.

While the network is grounded in 3GPP specifications, much of the development of the network operates on what Skylo refers to as the standards-plus approach. Skylo’s engineers add technical specifications to improve the functionality, interoperability and ubiquity of the satellite-based network over and above the 3GPP standards, improving the user experience. In combining Soracom protocol conversion and authentication offloading features, the user can also reduce the amount of data transmitted over the satellite link while maintaining integration with a cloud service of their choice.

“Soracom is committed to a cloud-native future where anything can connect to the cloud from anywhere, without compromising availability, affordability or capability,” said Kenta Yasukawa, CTO of Soracom. “Combining breakthrough NTN and NB-IoT network, we can enable customers to add satellite coverage to their existing hardware with minimal data overhead for hyperscaler cloud integrations.”

Andrew Nuttall, CTO of Skylo, added: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Soracom, as its expertise aligns with our mission to connect the unconnected. Together, we are empowering businesses and industries to unlock the full potential of IoT, regardless of their location or infrastructure constraints, enabling real-time data access, monitoring and control in areas not currently served by cellular connectivity.”

Soracom is a technology partner to more than 20,000 start-ups, SMBs and enterprises, connecting more than five million IoT devices globally.

Skylo Technologies is an NTN service provider based in Mountain View, California, offering a service that allows cellular modems and devices to connect directly over existing satellites.