How satellite IoT works
In a direct configuration setting, Satellite connectivity can either be used as the sole signal provider in locations and situations where it is the only possible way of forming a connection and transmitting data, or as a back up system to keep coverage constant if terrestrial IoT connections (such as cellular, or LPWAN) drops off.
These hybrid terrestrial satellite systems have a low cost thanks to the use of terrestrial-only IoT devices, with the satellite-connected terminals providing the coverage. And while it is possible to connect low-data devices such as sensors directly to the satellite system, the use of data to power ratio means that it can prove expensive relatively quickly.
When using a backhaul configuration however, the satellite connects to a tower which then uses other suitable wireless communication technologies to connect the IoT devices.
In most cases where devices are situated in remote locations, the chances are that they are off-grid, or would have to rely on an unreliable power supply. That’s why it’s best to ensure the devices can use renewable energy like solar power, and are designed for low energy usage.
Low power devices are well-suited to utilising Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, which are perfect for the narrowband requirements. LEO does require steerable antennas, as the satellites move. The other option is a geostationary orbit (GEO) unit. These need large antennas on the terminals, and will need directivity in order to avoid interference with nearby satellites.