IoT and Small Satellites


One of the trending topics today is IoT and Small Satellites. For example, we have all heard of Starlink, a constellation of satellites created by Elon Musk.

IoT will play a very important role in the future of satellites, and we have not seen it all yet as we can see from the rest of the article.

According to an article published on CNBC:

“To fund its Martian ambitions, SpaceX intends to transform the Earth — blanketing the planet in ubiquitous internet coverage beamed down from a tight-fitting mesh of thousands of satellites. CEO Elon Musk expects this “Starlink” service to eventually generate $30 billion per year.”

We are talking about a lot of satellites as you can see below:

“In space, construction is advancing smoothly. SpaceX has already become the world’s largest satellite operator, managing more than 500 satellites and counting. That’s a fraction of the thousands it intends to launch, but enough for the system to reach Air Force cockpits and connect Musk to Twitter. The company intends to start beta testing in North America this summer.”


But that is not all, there’s more. SpaceX has planned to launch more than 12.000 satellites by the year 2027 (see the second video).

The goal of Starlink is to provide a high quality of broadband internet to the most isolated parts of the planet as the video states. Besides this, Starlink will be providing low latency connectivity to cities that already have a connection. Nevertheless, you will need to buy an antenna created by them and that it will cost approximately 300 USD.
Low latency communication is very important since the number of devices is growing exponentially and in the near future, we will have smart homes and more smart cities, requiring a higher speed of communication. This will definitely result in more people coming online, a boost in international business, and more innovations. Other technologies that can benefit from this are VR and AR.

SpaceX uses krypton.

Starlink is very important especially considering that 41.3% of the population does not have access to the internet. In the below video you can learn more about it:

Starlink is a low Earth orbit constellation of sattelites (LOE).

I’m personally very excited to see when Starlink will offer fast broadband connection to locations around the world, and I am waiting for it to provide services to Sweden, where I live.


The article “Is IoT the Next Industrial Satellite Communication Revolution?” written by Oscar Glottmann, Spacebridge Inc., states:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) and associated Machine-To-Machine (M2M) connectivity has been named the next Industrial Revolution, as it will bring major changes in the way all businesses, governments, and people will interact with each other, as well as with the entire world.”

The article also includes predictions from other companies. For example, according to Ericsson:

“Between 2015 and 2021 the number of IoT/M2M connected devices will grow 23 percent annually. Furthermore, Ericsson predicts the number of IoT connected devices is expected to grow 23 percent annually, and of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.”

This explains the potential of IoT and why it is so important. There will certainly be a need for IoT professionals and even professionals working with security. It is definitely time to enroll in the latest courses and specializations on IoT, for example, on Coursera. Below is one of my tips which is a specialization that covers the latest on IoT:

Emerging Technologies: From Smartphones to IoT to Big Data Specialization

Link: Click Here

This specialization is comprised of courses:

  1. Big Data Emerging Technologies
    Link: Click Here
    Week 1: Big Data Rankings & Products
    Week 2: Big Data & Hadoop
    Week 3: Spark
    Week 4: Spark ML & Streaming
    Week 5: Storm
    Week 6: IBM SPSS Statistics Project
  2. Smart Device & Mobile Emerging Technologies
    Link: Click Here
    Week 1: Mobile Business Rankings & Analysis
    Week 2: Smart Devices
    Week 3: Mobile Communications
    Week 4: 4G & 5G Mobile Technology
    Week 5: Smartphone OSs
    Week 6: Smartphone & Mobile Network Project
  3. IoT (Internet of Things) Wireless & Cloud Computing Emerging Technologies
    Link: Click Here
    Week 1: IoT Business & Products
    Week 2: IoT Architecture & Technologies
    Week 3: IoT Networks
    Week 4: Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
    Week 5: Cloud Technology
    Week 6: IoT Bluetooth & Wi-Fi and EC2 Cloud Projects
  4. AR (Augmented Reality) & Video Streaming Services Emerging Technologies
    Link: Click Here
    Week 1: AR Applications, Products & Business
    Week 2: AR Technology
    Week 4: Skype, YouTube & H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
    Week 5: Video Streaming & MPEG-DASH
    Week 6: CDN Video Streaming Technology
    Week 7: AR Smartphone Project

My other tip is the course “Introduction to Satellite Communications“.
Link: Click Here

This course is comprised of 6 weeks of studies:

Week 1: Satellites at our service

Week 2: Satellite and communications

Week 3: Digital communications

Week 4: Communication techniques

Week 5: Hardware and equipments

Week 6: Networking and services

There are other companies that mention the growth of IoT among others are General Electric and IHS forecast:

“General Electric predicts that the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) investment is expected to top $60 trillion during the next 15 years, and the IHS forecast predicting that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025.”

As we can see in this example it doubles.

“IoT/M2M over satellite will also experience dramatic growth over other SATCOM markets. Hence SpaceBridge Inc has already readied its award-winning ASAT™ Dynamic WaveSwitch™ Multi-Service SATCOM System for IoT, and recently released the ASAT™ Ka/Ku-8200 SATCOM terminal specifically designed for IoT/M2M/SCADA and Telemetry applications.”


“SATCOM was always utilized for industrial M2M. In fact, some industries like Utilities, Oil & Gas, Lottery, Banking, Government, Sensor Networks, Security and Industry depend on SATCOM for their deployments.”

“During the last 10 years, a new and growing SATCOM market has emerged– cellular backhaul over satellite. As cellular connectivity is also often utilized for IoT and M2M, SATCOM has been also utilized to backhaul a larger number of IoT/M2M devices connected via cellular, Wi-Fi or other wireless communication means. The IoT/M2M market is currently experiencing the advent of ultra-low-cost radio transmission standards for IoT such as LoRa™, Sigfox™, LTE-M, Weightless and NB-IoT targeting less than $5 per radio transmitter, as well as low cost localized gateways to concentrate larger numbers of IoT/M2M devices in their vicinity, even thousands. At SpaceBridge Inc we see this trend leading to a new SATCOM application segment IoT/M2M Gateway Backhaul over satellite.”

“SpaceBridge Inc’ new Ultra-Compact All-Outdoor ASAT™ Ka-8200 VSAT transceiver-router was specifically designed for M2M, SCADA and IoT over satellite.“

“The Ka-8200 was designed for a wide variety of IoT/M2M/SCADA and Telemetry satellite applications such as:

– Transaction Oriented Applications: Gas Stations, ATM Machines, Lottery, Self-Service Voting/Info Kiosks, …

  • Interactive-TV: VoD, Program Rating, Shopping, Social TV
  • Sensor Networks such as Oil and Water pipe lines, Smart Fences and Perimeter Control
  • SmartGrid, M2M, SCADA and Telemetry
  • Smart Home and Internet-of-Things (IoT)
  • Large-scale Random Access Messaging Networks”

“Another ASAT™ IoT/M2M addition to the custom designed ASAT™ Ka-8200 IoT/M2M SATCOM terminal, was to enhance traditional VSAT Bandwidth-On-Demand (BOD), transforming it into a dynamically configurable SATCOM access method that enables dynamic configuration to the exact IoT/M2M polling requirements, guaranteeing bandwidth when and where it is needed, as well as preventing IoT/M2M data to be lost. The result is SpaceBridge Inc’ ASAT™versatile SATCOM multi-service access method dynamically supporting multiple modes of operation.”

SpaceBridge finalizes the article by saying:

“With the massive tripling or quadrupling of a new age of IoT/M2M devices and new applications, it is clear that IoT/M2M will bring a massive change over the coming years.

Ubiquitous broadband internet and mobile cellular brought along the “Connected Society”, and our new generations and new businesses interact differently as they did before. SATCOM playing an important part in the “Connected Society” especially in developing countries, but also in large developed countries like the United States and Europe were cellular coverage was not able to reach everywhere.

Now with the shift from Internet-of-People to Internet-of-Things, at SpaceBridge Inc we believe that in a few years this transformation will lead to the equivalent of a new industrial revolution, and hopefully a new Satellite Communications revolution, with satellite communications and the new HTS and LEO satellite constellations playing an even greater role than before.”



ESOA published this article that clearly shows the future needs that we will have with regards to satellite services.

According to ESOA:

“Satellite services have unique and necessary characteristics required for proper implementation of an IoT ecosystem. With more than 20 billion connected “things” expected to be in use throughout the world by 2020,2combined with new technologies that generate low cost-per-bit connectivity, the satellite industry is redefining the solutions it can provide to address the largest communications requirement our world has ever known. What is certain is that no single communications technology is prepared to handle this estimated IoT traffic alone.3Satellites do have some features which make them ideal for meeting the needs of a meaningful percentage of IOT traffic:

  • Global Footprint
  • Resilience
  • Broadband, Narrowand, & Broadcast Capabilities”



This assessment was written by Roger Birkeland and David Palma. You can download it in PDF format.

It is a very interesting read and even though it was a very deep study, it was not hard to understand. There are also a lot of abbreviations and terms that come in handy since you can build a list that you can use when you write your own articles. The assessment is comprised of the following subtopics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Satellite IoT
  3. 5G Satellite and IoT
  4. Services and Possibilities
  5. Conclusions

The introduction states:

“The number of proposed satellite constellations for communication purposes has been steadily increasing in the past years. Currently, more than 18 constellations have been proposed and are in different stages of development, from early design to having already launched in-orbit-demonstration (IOD) satellites. The common feature among these different proposals is that all of them aim to provide connectivity to IoT sensor systems in areas outside coverage from terrestrial mobile networks. Despite the generalized use of IoT for several purposes, IoT via satellite systems typically target a few special use-cases, leaving other relevant applications and services behind. In this work, we study and discuss how such systems can be integrated and augment a broader range of terrestrial IoT and mobile systems. This includes an analysis of the technical properties of the constellations, their service philosophies, and how they are aligned with existing communication networks. Relevant cellular and non-cellular terrestrial technologies are considered, including LoRA, SigFox and 5G alternatives such as NB-IoT. The impact of mega constellations will also be taken into account, identifying existing technology and service gaps. These gaps in satellite-IoT systems and in mega constellations may result in an inadequate augmentation of terrestrial networks and fail to fulfill user requirements. Relevant end-user services are investigated, spanning from asset tracking, simple environmental and industrial sensors to more advanced sensor networks in remote areas. The different user requirements are compared and matched against available and upcoming IoT solutions. From this, different strategies for integration of IoT via satellite with terrestrial systems are proposed and evaluated.”



This abstract was written by Sudhir K. Routray and Habib Mohammed Hussein. You can download it in PDF format.

It is a very good read and it covers several sectors like healthcare, agriculture, tracking, and more.

It is comprised of the following subtopics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Satellite-Based IoT Networks
  3. Applications of Satellite-Based IoT Systems
  4. Sustainability of Satellite-Based IoT Networks
  5. Conclusions

This abstract states among other things:

“Internet of things (IoT) has been proven to be a ubiquitous technology for several existing and new applications. It can provide both accuracy and sustainability in emerging services and applications. IoT has several advantages and it can provide different levels of coverage in different geographical locations and contexts. There are several applications in which the wide coverage, low power, and
reliability of the communication have very high priorities. A conglomeration of IoT and satellite networks can make it very attractive for these applications. In this article, we present the general features, motivation, and deployment issues of satellite-based IoT networks. We present the applications where these satellite-based IoT networks can play important roles. We also present the hybridization of narrowband IoT and satellite networks which can provide a long term sustainable network solution for several applications.
Keywords—Internet of things; satellite-based IoT; applications of satellite-based IoT; narrowband IoT; Green IoT”



I hope you enjoyed my article and learned a lot about IoT and Small Satellites.
There is no doubt that IoT is growing exponentially and that it will have a global impact not only boosting business opportunities, but also the access to online education, remote work, and more.

Written by Space Entrepreneur Veronica Chiaravalli – Emerging Technologies Sweden:

A girl looking through a window at a satellite and a planet. The image is by Riske Mustamu. The texts are by Veronica Chiaravalli

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