Limited Cell Solutions

Hi all,

I am looking for a solution to limited cell connectivity when using Electron. Unfortunately, several install locations for the product are in an area with nearly no cell signal, causing frequent drops in connectivity. Theoretically, the platform could also be integrated with particle photon and connect using wifi, but there aren’t many good ISPs in the area either. I am considering investigating connecting photon to a SpaceX Starlink and I’m curious if anyone has been successful going this route before? What, if any, issues did you run into? Thanks for your help!

Curios… is lack of cellular connectivity just in the physical location where the device needs to be on the site or within the general region (i.e. within several miles)? I occasionally have similar connectivity concerns but it’s more at the physical location where the device needs to be located on the site to adequately monitor/sense/control what it needs to monitor/sense/control but somewhere within a 1/2 mile the device will connect just fine. I.e. top of a hill, outside the building, etc. In this case, you could consider Electron + LoRa radio and then a LoRa node to talk back to your Electron. I.e. the Electron is located in a location with improved cellular connectivity on the site but the LoRa device can be in the location on the site with poor cellular reception. The LoRa device can send data/information back to the LoRa + Electron and the Electron sends it up to the cloud. Similar, if you have ISP and internet onsite you could also consider LoRaWAN or other radio technology back to a LoRaWAN gateway. There is something called Lacuna which is I believe LoRaWAN satellite. I don’t know the details though. You’ll have to google search a bit. It won’t work for my use cases as you can only publish data out once or twice per day as the satellite goes overhead so I didn’t bother investigating further. I suspect Lacuna is targeting the low bandwidth/low power IoT applications whereas Starlink is more for true ISP for medium to high bandwidth applications in remote location. With higher bandwidth I suspect comes higher cost and higher power requirements but that’s just my assumption. Per Google

Starlink users currently pay $99 a month for a subscription to the service, which is still in beta, plus $499 for the physical kit

So can make it tough for IoT applications at that price tag. Is power requirements a concern or just connectivity?

Would be interested to hear what you find out and what path you go down.

Hi Andrew, and welcome to the community!

I know Stewart @magchecks has done something in the area, he talks about that here (and here):

This is not Starlink but maybe an option to consider.
Best
Gustavo.

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