Massive Machine-Type Communication and Satellite Integration for Remote Areas

Despite immense progress along different tracks, wireless connectivity for machine applications in remote areas is still very challenging. To address this vital need, in this article, we discuss and advocate the convergence between low-pow-er wide area network (LPWAN) grade massive machine-type communication (mMTC) wireless technologies and satellite (especially low Earth orbit, LEO) systems. In the article, we discuss the alternative implementation approaches allowing such convergence and highlight some of their pros, cons, and challenges. Furthermore, we obtain more in-depth insight into the matter by simulating and analyzing the LoRaWAN LPWAN sensors’ performance served by a LEO satellite-based gateway. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of such a system and illustrate some of the relevant trade-offs between the network configurations and communication performance. These results motivate us to take a more profound look at such systems and the challenges they introduce. We highlight some of them and the potential directions for further studies in the final sections.