No stopping the rise in satellite communications

You might think that the need for satellite communications would be declining given the huge capabilities of cellular communications. But if anything, more people are demanding connectivity in remote areas, which will expand the number of circuit boards going into satellites.

I’ve been working on articles about telematics for off highway equipment and remote networks for and military users. Military and off highway equipment often ends up in remote areas that don’t have cellular links. Construction, agriculture and other off highway markets are new for satellites. Equipment owners and operators want to send diagnostics and usage level information to remote sites while also using GPS data to monitor vehicle movement. Military users have relied on satellites for years and their demand shows no signs of decline whatsoever.

Market researchers predict very solid growth for satellite communications. Northern Sky Research expects satellite broadband access to grow at almost 15% annually over the next decade, generating $9 billion in revenues by 2020. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the public safety market from $15.2 billion in 2009 to $22.3 billion in 2015. Spending won’t slow down in the latter half of the decade, hitting $34.7 billion in 2020.

That’s all good news for companies that make and assemble high reliability circuit boards. The designers of off highway and military equipment have strict ruggedness requirements and need long product lifetimes. But they’re practically consumer product specs when compared to the needs for boards that go aloft in satellites.

In an era when the enormous buildup in cellular communications and fiber optic networks, it might seem that the need for satellites would diminish. Instead, it seems the sky’s the limit.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Bell Lab’s new lightRadio cellular cube is going to help a great deal. These little critters are only a couple inches square and can transmit 500 meters. Because of the low comparative cost and only a little bit for maintenance these will dot our landscapes, but can be fit into a lamp post. Maybe the cell towers are dinosaurs

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