IMC Newsdesk

Inmarsat, CPN and MinFarm optimise LoRa satellite data

  • August 27, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Satellite communications firm Inmarsat has teamed up with CPN Satellite Services and MinFarm Tech to enable data from IoT sensors operating on LoRaWans to be optimised for transmission over Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service.
This should bring additional connectivity to IoT devices deployed in remote locations across a range of sectors.
Together, they have created the MF 400 IoT satellite bridge that offers organisations an off-the-shelf and ready-to-use way to simplify the connectivity between sensor and application.
“IoT is already proving to be hugely influential in enabling effective remote operations across many different sectors, and we are continually focused on innovation with the objective of making our services even better,” said Tara Maclachlan, vice president of IoT at UK-based Inmarsat. “Backhauling LoRaWan data over satellite utilising the MF 400 IoT satellite bridge is a major step forward in this regard, and one which underscores the strength of the collaboration between Inmarsat, CPN and MinFarm.”
The success of a remote operation – such as dam monitoring or agricultural resource management – depends on having robust, reliable equipment in place to do the job. IoT devices are having a significant impact in this area, due to their ability to record and transfer data in a way that reduces the need for expensive on-site visits and lowers overall maintenance costs.
However, operating in remote regions means that backhauling data from LoRaWans is not always possible via terrestrial connectivity, so posing connectivity problems for organisations.
Powered by a single 80W solar panel and with battery backup capacity of two to three days, the device uses protocol optimisation to forward sensor payload traffic over the high-latency, non-IP packet data satellite services of the IDP. This ensures global connectivity, while keeping down airtime costs per sensor, lowering the complexity of installation and reducing the power requirements at the edge.
“We are delighted to be launching this product in conjunction with Inmarsat and MinFarm,” said Christian Nicolai, M2M and IoT consultant at German firm CPN Satellite Services. “The MF 400 IoT satellite bridge will solve some of the major problems facing organisations operating IoT sensors in remote regions. Connecting these devices to Inmarsat satellite networks brings added reliability and resilience, with the guarantee that accurate data can be transmitted and received regardless of location.”
Stephen Lynam, CEO of Stockholm-based MinFarm, added: “MinFarm Tech is dedicated to enabling LoRaWan to work seamlessly over satellite networks. We are very excited to partner with Inmarsat and CPN to deliver the MF 400 IoT satellite bridge product. This product will enable customers to pick a truly global and trusted satellite service provider in Inmarsat, while continuing to use their existing LoRaWan hardware and cloud. It promises to be a game-changing technology for the industry.”
In addition to working with partners to introduce services, Inmarsat is undertaking the largest investment in its history to extend the capacity, agility and resilience of its space and ground-based infrastructure. This includes two new L-band satellites (I-6 F1 and F2), which are scheduled to launch in 2021, as well as seven further GX Ka-band satellites, which will enter service over the next four years.
“As the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, we have an ambitious vision for the future and are progressing the most innovative technology development programme in our history to achieve this,” said Maclachlan. “We believe that reliable, agile, seamless connectivity is now more vital than ever and will play a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of digital technology.”