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Inmarsat joins CPN and MinFarm to address low-power satellite networks

Global Xpress 7,8,9; Credits: Inmarsat

Inmarsat, a leader in global, mobile satellite communications, has teamed up with CPN Satellite Services and MinFarm Tech to launch the MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge, incorporating Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service. The solution enables data from IoT sensors operating on LoRaWAN networks to be optimized for transmission over Inmarsat’s IDP service, which will bring much-needed additional connectivity to IoT devices deployed in remote locations across a range of different sectors.

The success of a remote operation – such as dam monitoring or agricultural resource management – depends on having robust, reliable equipment in place to do the job. IoT devices are having a significant impact in this area, due to their ability to record and transfer data in a way that reduces the need for expensive on-site visits and lowers overall maintenance costs. However, operating in remote regions means that backhauling data from LoRaWAN networks is not always possible via terrestrial connectivity so posing a connectivity challenge for organisations.

The MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge offers organisations an off-the-shelf and ready-to-use solution to meet these challenges, simplifying the connectivity between sensor and application. Powered by a single 80W solar panel and with battery backup capacity of 2-3 days, the device uses protocol optimization to forward sensor payload traffic over the high-latency, non-IP packet data satellite services of the Inmarsat IDP. This ensures unrivaled global connectivity, while keeping airtime costs per sensor to a minimum, lowering the complexity of installation and reducing the power requirements at the Edge.

Tara Maclachlan, Vice President of IoT, Enterprise at Inmarsat, commented: “IoT is already proving to be hugely influential in enabling effective remote operations across many different sectors, and we are continually focused on innovation with the objective of making our services even  better. Backhauling LoRaWAN network data over satellite using the MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge is a major step forward in this regard, and one which underscores the strength of the collaboration between Inmarsat, CPN and MinFarm.”

Christian Nicolai, M2M and IoT Consultant at CPN Satellite Services, added: “We are delighted to be launching this product in conjunction with Inmarsat and MinFarm. The MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge will solve some of the major problems facing organisations operating IoT sensors in remote regions. Connecting these devices to Inmarsat satellite networks brings added reliability and resilience, with the guarantee that accurate data can be transmitted and received regardless of location.”

Stephen Lynam, CEO of MinFarm, added: “MinFarm Tech is dedicated to enabling LoRaWAN™ to work seamlessly over satellite networks. We are very excited to partner with Inmarsat and CPN to deliver the MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge product. This product will enable customers to pick a truly global and trusted satellite service provider in Inmarsat, while continuing to use their existing LoRaWAN hardware and cloud solutions. It promises to be a game-changing technology for the industry.”

The launch of the MF 400 IoT Satellite Bridge supports Inmarsat’s wide ranging and fully-funded Future Technology Roadmap program.  In addition to working with partners to introduce new and enhanced services, Inmarsat is undertaking the largest investment in its history to extend the capacity, agility and resilience of its industry-leading space and ground-based infrastructure still further.  This includes two new L-band satellites (I-6 F1 & F2), which are scheduled to launch in 2021 and to take our L-band portfolio into the mid-2030s and beyond, as well as seven further GX Ka-band satellites, which will enter service over the coming four years.

Inmarsat’s Tara Maclachlan commented:  “We have an ambitious vision for the future and are progressing the most innovative technology development program in our history to achieve this.  We believe that reliable, agile, seamless connectivity is now more vital than ever and will play a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of digital technology.”

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