Satellite connectivity for business use: voice, data, IoT

More operators, improved technology, lower costs and more flexible options are making satellite solutions a more appealing choice for businesses, reports James Atkinson

Satellites have been delivering services to enterprises for more than 50 years now, providing voice, GPS location, video, broadband, point-to-multipoint (multicast) and, more recently, M2M/IoT services. Maritime, utilities, energy and oil and gas companies requiring communications in remote areas of the globe are key users.

More recent users include agriculture and forestry, construction and mining, transportation and logistics, heavy equipment and automotive. Along with voice and data services, many of these industries also rely on satellites to monitor and track assets and personnel.

Services are provided by three types of satellite: Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) or geostationary satellites (35,786km); Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites (2,000-35,786km); and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites (180-2,000km).

Commenting on the current market, Lluc Palerm-Serra, senior analyst with Northern Sky Research (NSR), observes: “Today, we are witnessing a transition from traditional widebeam satellites to GEO-HTS (high throughput satellite). These satellites are much more efficient in price and performance [than the earlier FSS – fixed satellite services].

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