Iridium wished to extend its product range with a miniature radio transceiver module that enabled third-party developers to connect their products to the global Iridium satellite network. The module had to meet harsh cost, size and power consumption requirements, necessary for mass-market adoption in markets such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, asset tracking and data logging.
The module also needed to present simple interfaces to Iridium product developers, so that it could be readily integrated into their products.
To achieve the stringent performance requirements, two new custom ASICs were developed to significantly increase the level of electronic integration. This integration allowed the 9602 to be miniaturised to fit into the palm of the hand - a revolutionary form factor in the mobile satellite market.
In addition, advanced digital signal processing was incorporated that performed the radio modulation and demodulation with ultra-low power consumption.
The 9602 was highly successful in satisfying its requirements in a reliable manner that maintained the exemplary robustness and reliability upon which Iridium has made its name. The result is the smallest commercial satellite transceiver in the world, which achieves its tiny size without compromise in performance.
The project resulted in a matchbox-sized two-way radio transceiver module that provides communication from anywhere on the globe with a path to the sky.
The aggressive timeline was met by employing extensive simulation and modelling to retire risk early in the development, avoiding issues during regulatory approval and introduction to manufacture.
The product has been met with excitement from a broad range of sectors including: automotive, maritime, aviation, construction, oil, gas, mining, utilities, public safety, transport and, most notably, through the radical cost reduction, consumer. As such, the 9602 is supporting important global initiatives such as smart energy management, M2M communication, environmental monitoring, location-based services and disaster management.
The excellent usability of the product led to rapid adoption. Within a year of launch, over 100 value-added manufacturers signed partnership agreements to integrate the 9602 module into their products, such as the DeLorme InReach two-way emergency communicator.