One of Skylo’s biggest breakthroughs is our ability to connect modems and devices that were designed for terrestrial cellular networks to also connect via existing satellites. Our“direct-to-device” breakthrough is made possible via a standard firmware update– no new hardware, power amplifiers, or specialized antennas are required. This technological leap has greatly expanded the types of devices that can now access reliable satellite connectivity by seamlessly toggling between cell towers and satellites, from small industrial trackers to personal smartwatches.
Historically, power consumption has been high for a device that’s directly connected to a satellite over 22,000 miles away. But Skylo hypothesized that our satellite connectivity would draw power at a similar rate as a terrestrial connection. This efficiency is especially important for wearables, smartphones, and battery-powered IoT devices. We designed experiments to demonstrate this efficient usage on the smallest form-factor batteries, like the kind you’d find in a smartwatch.
Here’s what we did:
● We successfully connected acellular smartwatch over Skylo’s satellite network, with only a modem firmware update.
● We looked at the average power consumption of a 300mAH smartwatch battery when connected over Skylo’s satellite network and compared that to the power consumption when connected to traditional cell towers.
● Using 100% satellite connectivity, we evaluated various data packet sizes emulating the end-user’s typical use cases including generic notifications, text messaging, and issuing a single alert on a single battery charge.
Our tests yielded astonishing results.
We proved that messaging or SOS directly over satellite didn’t impact the normal life expectancy of a battery per charge:
● There was no change in the peak transmission power.
● On a single charge, a smartwatch could send or receive more than 800 SOS messages or about 400 short text messages or notifications (usage rates that are much higher than typical daily use).
● With a periodic ping of one message per hour, the 300 mAH battery could last for more than 20 days absent any other application activity.
● Specifically: 10 messages over satellite consumed about 4-10 mAH.
● The impact of 10 satellite messages had nearly no impact on the battery considering the published (mostly3-5 days) battery life of a smartwatch per single charge.
We are beyond thrilled with Skylo’s ability to deliver satellite connectivity that meets several usage requirements:
No change in antenna within the device – Skylo uses existing geostationary satellites to ensure universal connectivity. This means that the end user does not need to point to a specific satellite, in a particular direction, or wait for another satellite to fly directly overhead. No change in user behavior needed when using satellite mode.
No change in the hardware for compatible modems – Skylo satellite connectivity is enabled via a standard firmware update to compatible modems.
No change in battery life – Skylo’s network and tech-stack is ultra-efficient and does not accelerate battery usage relative to terrestrial cellular.
This is a massive step forward for the satellite industry, and for device makers trying to validate NTN (non-terrestrial network) connectivity.
Our testing and integration with mass-market devices and modems continues to put Skylo on the forefront of developing new NTN technologies that guarantees you never lose coverage. We have more commercial tests lined up over the coming weeks, and we’ll keep you posted as new results roll in.
To learn more about how Skylo’s technology is helping customers, check out our case studies. If you are a device maker that wants to enable satellite connectivity to your upcoming products, give us a shout at: email@example.com.