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What are the challenges of IoT in space?

Even though aging hardware is a problem all networks face at some point, satellite IoT networks boost some network challenges to a new level.

IoT in space does not get a free pass from cyberthreats or physical damage because they are based outside of Earth's atmosphere. Organizations must plan for the challenges of IoT in space accordingly if they want the reliability of satellites.

Satellite IoT challenges include failing devices because of aging, loss of power, physical destruction or external attack. Organizations that must replace aging IoT satellites will require the funds to replace them and boosters to place new satellites into orbit. To prevent any downtime, replacement satellites must be launched before a satellite ages out to account for the satellites' cost and availability to manufacture, and the scheduling time for a launch. Alternatively, organizations would launch additional satellites to serve as spares and ensure performance requirements are met.

Organizations also need to consider the possible loss of power through a battery or solar power failure to be an important challenge of IoT in space along with the low possibility of a satellite being destroyed by space junk.

Cybersecurity may be the most important challenge of IoT in space for organizations to ensure that control of the satellite and data transmissions are not subject to interference or capture. Developers must increase the capacity of satellites to interface with IoT networks, which requires a new design of satellites and upgrading or replacing existing satellites. Without a defined interface standard, the addition or replacement of IoT networks, data formats and bandwidth will continue to prove problematic. IoT in space will require sufficient ground stations distributed widely to support the networks. Before IoT in space is feasible for organizations, they will need to identify who will pay for the satellites, network standards and ground stations and assign the cost of the IoT networks.

Current satellites have provided highly reliable communications and navigation support, along with data transfer. Once deployed, IoT in space could offer enhanced reliability for data collection and transfers even in remote locations. Low-power WAN based in space would use less bandwidth and power.

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