Jio demoes satellite internet in India with MEO technology

Reliance Jio said that it successfully tested India’s first satellite-based gigabit internet service which it calls JioSpaceFiber as the telecom giant wants to push further its communication lead in the country and beyond. The satellite connectivity allows the company to provide high-speed broadband service in areas with inconsistent or no cellular connection.

JioSpaceFiber at work was demonstrated by Reliance during an India Mobile Congress 2023 event on Friday, October 27. Jio’s satellite service uses medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellite connection which contrasts with the low-Earth orbit (LEO) tech others use such as SpaceX for its Starlink satellite internet service.

The telco said that it collaborated with SES, a Luxembourg-based satellite communication company for the MEO connection. As per the company, SES’s O3v and o3b mPOWER networks can provide fiber-like internet services from the space. Now, that’s where the naming inspiration comes from for JioSpaceFiber!

But if you have noticed, you may have come across the term LEO more frequently. The LEO technology employs LEO satellite constellations that orbit at the height of 250 and 2,000 kilometers above the Earth.  

Elon Musk’s SpaceX uses this tech which has been providing satellite-based internet service in the US, Canada, and more regions while also actively seeking permission to operate in India. OneWeb, backed by Bharti Group also uses the same LEO technology for satellite broadband service. The advantage is a LEO-based solution provides low-latency high-speed internet service. Don’t miss out: SpaceX to start Direct-to-Cell Satellite Service for text, data, voice

LEO vs MEO satellite internet advantages and disadvantages

LEO-based satellite internet service is indeed a more prominent communication service than MEO. But each has its advantages and disadvantages. LEO satellite internet only requires a small terminal available to both individuals and organizations. But reportedly, the MEO service of JioSpaceFiber necessitates a much larger dish to connect to the satellite internet.

The difference also lies in the quality perhaps. Starlink’s LEO service offers low-latency broadband internet service. However, doubts are transmitted that MEO-satellite service might carry higher latency because of the higher distance of satellites from the Earth. That means wireless signals take longer to reach to and fro.

Starlink satellite constellation from
Starlink satellite constellation | Credit:

But there is one key area where MEO trumps LEO. MEO satellite service covers a large area for service with a much smaller number of satellites. You may also want to read: Reliance Jio AirFiber, a 5G hotspot service to rollout next month

Jio says that it has successfully established satellite internet services in Gir, Korba, Nabarangpur, and Jorhat in Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Odisha, and Assam respectively.

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