Extending LoRaWAN Connectivity with Multimodal IoT Networks

Moving goods through the global supply chain is a complicated puzzle and a costly one. Businesses have both efficiency requirements and a financial stake in tracking and monitoring their products as they look for ways to reduce more than $2.4 billion in annual losses due to lost or damage in-transit. Additionally, market research indicates over 80% of businesses experience at least one substantial supply chain disruption per year.

When transporting goods across oceans, international borders, and remote areas, it can be difficult to obtain end-to-end visibility – meaning logistics managers are challenged with knowing where their goods are, when they will be delivered, and their condition while in transit. This uncertainty can result in delivery delays, the inability to determine the cause of damage, and ultimately financial losses.

These longstanding challenges have created an opening for new solutions that can enhance supply chain visibility though the use of low-cost sensors and low power wide area networks (LPWANs). Combining location data with data from sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, shock, vibration, and other environmental conditions – transmitted over an optimal mix of terrestrial and satellite LoRaWAN networks – provides insights into the supply chain that have historically been limited due to the high cost of end-to-end network coverage and high tracker/sensor costs. 

To deliver against this opportunity, Senet has announced partnerships with Eutelsat Communications, TrakAssure, and Wyld Networks, to bring interoperable terrestrial and satellite LoRaWAN connectivity to customers across the globe.

Through this collaboration, Senet is providing terrestrial network connectivity via its ever-expanding global LoRaWAN network and satellite coverage through an integration with Eutelsat, the world’s third largest satellite operator. Eutelsat satellite services extend Senet coverage in rural areas, at sea, and other hard to reach places where terrestrial networks have not yet been established. By combining the reliability of carrier-grade LoRaWAN networks with the reach of satellite connectivity under one network management platform, Senet is providing a unique and extended LoRaWAN network that can more effectively support a multitude of use cases in the global supply chain, including container tracking, pallet tracking, and monitoring the condition of goods in transit.  

Enhancing Supply Chain Visibility Through LoRaWAN Satellite Connectivity

The ability to connect IoT sensors anywhere through a combination of terrestrial and satellite networks is being thoughtfully designed to support the low-cost value proposition of LoRaWAN.

For example, containers being moved in and out of ports can be tracked using terrestrial networks where coverage is accessible. When a shipment is at sea, the tracking and sensor devices applied to the goods will automatically switch to satellite connectivity when it is recognized that terrestrial network connectivity is not available, and then back to terrestrial converge when it is within range. Shipments moving over rural transportation routes where terrestrial networks are not consistently available benefit from the same capabilities.

Ultimately, the availability of global LoRaWAN network coverage will depend on the configuration of a satellite fleet, filling in the gaps where terrestrial networks are not yet available. Eutelsat’s first Low Earth Orbit (LEO) nanosatellite launched in 2021 and by 2024 the company expects to have launched approximately 25 such satellites. Naturally, satellite coverage will “densify” as the fleet grows, with daily passes expanding to hourly passes based on fleet configuration and orbital positions.

Watch Kurrant Insights video detailing how terrestrial and satellite networks are enabling IoT possibilities that previously weren’t possible. Senet’s Bruce Chatterley and Eutelsat’s Luc Perrard weigh in on the emerging market.

A Consortium for Global LoRaWAN Connectivity

Executing against its vision to deliver ubiquitous low-power wide area network connectivity, Senet, Eutelsat, TrakAssure and Wyld Networks have also formed the Multimodal IoT Infrastructure Consortium™ (MMIIC). The initial goal of MMIIC is to complete platform integrations, deliver innovative sensor and hardware designs, collaborate on service delivery with compelling price points, and target the global supply chain including container logistics and related asset tracking as the first and anchor applications.

The expertise and solution offerings of the MMIIC members provide the unique and critical capabilities needed to deliver ubiquitous LoRaWAN network coverage and supply chain visibility. Beyond the supply chain, MMIIC members will prioritize and deliver solutions designed to extend the adoption of LoRaWAN connectivity into markets that can benefit from the combination of LEO satellite and terrestrial network connectivity, including oil and gas production, utility infrastructure monitoring, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and others.  

View MMIIC Consortium Webinar

Unified LoRaWAN Connectivity

Delivering connectivity to support global use cases, means meeting a broad spectrum of requirements. With unified LoRaWAN connectivity supported by the integration of different terrestrial network types (see Senet’s integration with the Helium Network), continuous network deployment and densification supported by Senet’s Radio Access Network (RAN) partners and Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network (LVN) participants, and the seamless integration of terrestrial and satellite coverage, global connectivity challenges are no longer a barrier to success.