LoRa satellite network aims at pan-European IoT

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

EchoStar Mobile has launched an early adopter programme for a pan-European bi-directional satellite network using the LoRa protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The programme is aimed at transport and logistics, agriculture, oil and gas and utilities to test a satellite-enabled connectivity solution that uses the LoRa low power protocol for connecting devices to the internet. The satellite network is due to enter commercial operation by the end of the year.

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“LoRa connectivity makes up 45% of today’s global IoT networks; it’s perfect for connecting low-powered ‘things,’ yet its reliance on terrestrial connectivity restricts its usefulness,” said Telemaco Melia, vice president and general manager of EchoStar Mobile.

“Replacing fibre and cable with satellite connectivity, the EchoStar Mobile solution is the first real-time, bi-directional LoRa service with mobile and remote capabilities. Accelerating the adoption of massive IoT, our programme already spans more than 10,000 devices, with the service expected to scale to millions of devices in Europe alone.”

LoRa was designed by two French engineers to connect battery devices to a low power wide area network (LPWAN). The EchoStar Mobile programme allows sensors to roam freely in real-time while sending and receiving information. It makes use of the company’s licensed S-band spectrum and capacity on the EchoStar XXI geostationary satellite with a LoRa-enabled module that integrates easily into IoT devices.

The modules are compatible with terrestrial ISM-band LoRaWAN networks and use the Semtech LR1120 chipset that supports roaming anywhere within the satellite footprint, which spans the European continent.

“Big data is the new currency in a world of accelerating change. The rapid collection, processing and management of data is vital for optimising industrial processes and changing society through innovation, whether by supporting the wider development of Smart Cities or the transition to renewable energy,” said Melia.

“Achieving the full potential of IoT means accessing data from thousands of machines, factories or distribution facilities, however remote, and bringing it to a central point for analysis and insight. The EchoStar Mobile satellite-enabled LoRa network enables industries to use IoT in innovative ways that can transform their operations.”

The EchoStar Mobile LoRa early adopter program will run through 2022 with commercial availability expected around the end of the year.;

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