Monitoring a remote pipeline, keeping track of containers at sea, or managing livestock in rural areas without internet access can all be done using devices that are connected to the internet. Put together, they are called the Internet of Things (IoT).
The challenge is to get these devices connected to the Internet in remote areas where there is no ground infrastructure.
One solution is using nanosatellites, cheap cubic satellites weighing as little 1kg.
Called CubeSat, they can be deployed in low Earth orbits—like the International Space Station (480km)—at a fraction of the cost of usual geostationary telecom satellites, which orbit at an altitude of 35,900km.
As this option becomes more popular, the question of quality-of-service arises, since a direct-to-satellite internet network must be capable of providing services to many devices simultaneously.
Researchers in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science led by Professor Sandra Céspedes and masters’ student Pablo Ilabaca, came up with a novel network size estimator that could allow a single nanosatellite to serve up to 4,000 devices on the ground, an 8-fold boost compared to previous estimates.
Using simulations, they found that their optimistic collision information-based estimator was effective in realistic scenarios and is computationally efficient. This technology can be used onboard a nanosatellite to bring the internet to places that would otherwise remain offline.
Read “Network Size Estimation for Direct-to-Satellite IoT” in IEEE Internet of Things Journal published November 24, 2022.