<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/H4QRKGJNZm52yFBaHe9u" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">
Contact Us

March Madness – Cellular vs Satellite | KORE

4 minute read

Understanding the key differences between satellite and cellular connectivity for IoT is key to ensuring a successful deployment. Here's everything you need to know, starting with the basics… 

How do they work?  


IoT-enabled sensors gather data from their surroundings, such as environmental conditions or equipment performance, which is then processed and prepared for transmission. IoT connectivity via cellular networks operates by wirelessly transmitting data packets through the air, utilizing the extensive infrastructure of mobile network operators' cell towers. From there, it travels through a private network to the customer's data center or cloud, where incoming data is promptly received and securely stored.


As with cellular, IoT-enabled sensors gather data from their surroundings. From there (by utilizing specific frequencies and protocols) the sensors send data packages to orbiting satellites. Upon reception, the data is relayed to ground stations on earth and forwarded to designated recipients –such as farmers, energy operators, or fleet managers – for analysis and visualization via cloud-based or local systems.

What are the pros and cons?



  • Widespread Coverage: Cellular networks have extensive coverage in urban and suburban areas, making them accessible in many regions.
  • Security: Cellular networks are equipped with stronger security protocols that undergo continuous updates to address emerging threats.
  • Scalability: Cellular networks can support a large number of devices, making them suitable for scalable IoT deployments.
  • Predictability: Cellular connectivity plans often charge users a set rate, which can help in terms of planning for deployment costs, etc.


  • Limited Reach in Remote Areas: Cellular coverage may be limited or unavailable in remote or rural areas, making it unsuitable for IoT deployments in such locations.
  • Potential Congestion: In densely populated areas, cellular networks may experience congestion, leading to slower data transmission.
  • Subscription Costs: Ongoing subscription costs for cellular connectivity plans can accumulate over time, especially for large-scale deployments.
  • Dependence on Infrastructure: Relies on existing cellular infrastructure, which may be susceptible to outages or disruptions.



  • Global Coverage: Satellite connectivity provides coverage in remote and isolated regions where terrestrial networks are unavailable.
  • Resilience: Offers reliable communication even in challenging environments, such as disaster-stricken areas or maritime operations.
  • Scalability: Well-suited for IoT deployments that require expansive coverage, as satellites can reach virtually any location on earth.
  • Independent Infrastructure: Not reliant on terrestrial infrastructure, providing greater autonomy and resilience.


  • Higher Latency: Satellite communication typically involves longer transmission delays (latency) compared to cellular networks, which may not be suitable for real-time applications.
  • Cost: Initial setup costs for satellite connectivity can be high, including equipment and installation expenses.
  • Data Limits: Some satellite plans may impose data caps or throttle speeds after reaching certain usage limits, potentially affecting data-intensive IoT applications.
  • Susceptible to Environmental Factors: Inclement weather or physical obstructions can interfere with satellite signals, leading to disruptions in connectivity.

The choice is yours

Ultimately, the choice between cellular and satellite connectivity for IoT depends on factors such as location, scalability requirements, reliability needs, and budget considerations. Each option offers distinct advantages and drawbacks that should be carefully evaluated based on specific project requirements.

Ready for a twist?

You may not have to choose at all! Incorporating satellite networks into cloud-based cellular connectivity is a viable way to achieve global coverage. The integration of satellite-cellular IoT connectivity has the potential to eliminate location-based connectivity issues and bridge connectivity gaps for global deployments, which may unlock innovative new applications for mobile IoT technology.

No matter what your needs are, KORE has you covered. Reach out to KORE to learn how we can help connect you to the fastest, most reliable technology for today and the future. 

Topic(s): Connectivity , Featured , General

U3GM Blog Post Comments


Stay up to date on all things IoT by signing up for email notifications.