It was a summer of satellite developments for the Internet of Things (IoT), as big cellular integration projects were announced by two renowned Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) chipset manufacturers on the same day. On August 19, 2020, Sony Semiconductor Israel declared that it was working with startup Skylo Technologies to develop and deploy NB-IoT-based chipsets that use a gateway to connect to satellites in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) to realize a global network of “NB-IoT over satellite” connectivity. With identical timing, MediaTek stated it had successfully completed a field trial with long-standing satellite incumbent Inmarsat to achieve bi-directional communication between a terrestrial satellite-enabled NB-IoT device and Inmarsat’s Alphasat L-band satellite. NB-IoT is definitionally a “wide-area” technology, and the use of satellite to backhaul its signals over 35,000 kilometers into space—and back again—genuinely takes the concept to the next level!
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