Mid-band transceiver accelerates IoT and raises voice quality

A mid-band service class transceiver from Iridium Communications transfers IP data over 35 times faster than its predecessors while also supporting high quality voice connections.

The Iridium Certus 9770 has L-band speeds ranging from 22 to 88kbits per second and will expand the reach of satellite services to new markets, says Iridium. Applications range from unmanned and autonomous drones to new personal communicators and remotely deployed IoT devices, all connected through Iridium’s L-band network.

Iridium defines mid-band as speeds ranging between 22 and 176kbits per second, and narrowband as 2.4kbits per second and Iridium Certus specialty broadband at 176kbits per second and higher.

The first 10 approved beta partners are developing new products based on the Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver. Each partner has received operational beta units, which have been undergoing extensive testing designed to fine-tune both the new transceiver and the new products to prepare for service activation.

The small, mobile transceiver is being tested for small-form factor satellite-enabled devices for maritime, aviation, land-mobile, IoT and government applications. Partners are Beam Communications, Blue Sky Network, Cobham, Lars Thrane, Marine Instruments, McQ, NAL Research, SkyTrac Systems, Telespazio and Wireless Innovation.

Upon completion of testing, the Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver will be made available to additional Iridium licensed technology and distribution partners; this is expected to be in Q1 2020.

“This new breed of device is the start of a shift in what defines small-form-factor satellite communications technology,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “These … mobile, lower-cost solutions … feature native IP technology at speeds capable of delivering a true internet, email, high-quality voice, photo and even some video capabilities,” he said. “When you combine that with … global coverage, we’re creating a cost-effective and reliable ecosystem of new products in a new L-band speed class, mid band, that is unlike anything that exists from the satellite community today.”

The Iridium Certus 9770 small form factor transceiver allows developers to create mobile devices at speeds far faster than existing Iridium devices of similar size, claims Iridium.  Markets requiring richer data transfers, pictures, low-resolution streaming and enhanced telemetry will particularly benefit from this new technology.

Two examples are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and satellite IoT. Both are expected to see significant growth over the next few years. According to MarketsandMarkets™, the UAV market is expected to reach $52 billion in value by 2025 from $17 billion in 2017, while Northern Sky Research reports satellite-enabled IoT solutions total industry revenues are expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2027, from approximately $1 billion in 2019.


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