IoT over satellite for remote areas

In this project, a survey of terrestrial and satellite IoT technologies will be carried out. The project is partially funded by the Norwegian Space Agency.

Several IoT-oriented small satellite constellations are currently on the verge of creation. In addition, current service providers as Iridium and Globalstar offer active IoT-oriented services, mostly oriented towards asset tracking. This project aims to identify gaps in the current – and proposed – state of art, where the potential gaps will be associated with basic requirements for systems that are important for Norwegian interests. These interests include remote and Arctic coverage, relaying data volumes larger than what is covered by current asset tracking systems. In our vision this will be achieved by enabling interoperability and the co-existence of different technologies, such as sensor networks, satellites and unmanned vehicles. This would allow complementary radio technologies, together with the use of standard protocols, to seamlessly operate in different contexts and further enable the goal of the 5th Generation of Mobile networks. For NTNU, it is interesting to identify areas for research related to the build-up of new satellite activities, as well as possibilities for future spin-offs.

Figure 1: Integrated architecture. The grey arrows are not the focus of this work, but should be considered in order to ensure interoperability

Figure 1 shows the reference architecture, considered in this project.

Work packages

The project consists of two work packages.

WP1: Market study – current and future capacity

This work package will evaluate available information about current and proposed IoT technologies, and how they are expected to cover the market needs. Several use cases should be described, and potential gaps should be identified. Industry actors, as Telenor and Com4 , will be engaged. Various enabling technologies will be identified and described, and the link to existing services should be highlighted.

Both hardware and software must be covered; for user terminals as well as needed space segment components. Usable network protocols shall be identified, and their potential use over satellite- and marginal links should be evaluated. Current research indicate that the link-layer may require special attention.

WP2: System design and proposal for augmenting terrestrial systems with satellite communications

This work package will focus on the design of the system that enhances existing IoT technologies. The design includes the definition of required protocols that will enable the interconnection between different radio access technologies and exiting IoT networks, for example, 5G. Several scenarios should be considered, for example: connection and range extending by flying nodes, bringing connectivity to offshore fish-farms and Arctic sensor networks.


Project members

Roger Birkeland, David Palma