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Direct-To-Satellite Internet of Things (IoT) - Overview, Status and Challenges

Silver Level Contributor
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The Internet of Things (IoT) has drawn an enormous attention into the scientific community thanks to unimaginable before applications newly available in everyday life. The technological landscape behind the implied surge of automated interactions among humans and machines has been shaped by plugging into the Internet very low power devices that can perform monitoring and actuation operations through very cheap circuitry. The most challenging IoT scenarios include deployments of low power devices dispersed over wide geographical areas. In such scenarios, satellites will play a key role in bridging the gap towards a pervasive IoT able to easily handle disaster recovery scenarios (earthquakes, tsunamis, and flash floods, etc.), where the presence of a resilient backhauling communications infrastructure is crucial. In these scenarios, Direct-to-Satellite IoT (DtS-IoT) connectivity is preferred as no intermediate ground gateway is required, facilitating and speeding up the deployment of wide coverage IoT infrastructure. In this work, an in-depth yet thorough survey on the state-of-the-art of DtS-IoT is presented. The available physical layer techniques specifically designed for the IoT satellite link are described, and the suitability of both the current Medium Access Control protocol and the upper layer protocols to communicate over space links will be argued. We also discuss the design of the overall satellite LEO constellation and topology to be considered in DtS-IoT networks.

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