Farm Progress

CNH, Intelsat join forces to link machines

Beginning later this year, CNH Industrial’s machines will be connected via Intelsat satellites.

Andy Castillo

May 7, 2024

2 Min Read
CNH Industrial is partnering with Intelsat
SATELLITE LINK: CNH Industrial is partnering with Intelsat to connect its machines via satellite — no matter where they are. Intelsat

Given how much farmland doesn’t have broadband coverage, agricultural equipment manufacturers need a reliable solution to keep their machines connected. A few months ago, John Deere partnered with Starlink to overcome its connectivity hurdle.

Now CNH Industrial has likewise partnered with Intelsat, which operates one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial communication networks, to bring satellite connectivity to its Case IH, Steyr and New Holland equipment.

“Satellite technology helps solve complex connectivity challenges for hard-to-reach farms,” says Marc Kermisch, chief digital and information officer at CNH. “Intelsat stands out for their depth of experience, as well as the quality and reliability of their service and industrial terminal offerings.”

Small, flat satellite dishes made by Intelsat will first be installed on CNH machines owned by Brazilian farmers in the second half of this year. Only 19% of Brazil’s farmland has high-speed internet. Customers can go to their Case IH and New Holland dealers to have the dishes mounted on top of their new and used machines. Farmers in U.S., Australia, and other regions will be able to receive the service sometime after. Currently, CNH connects to its machines exclusively via terrestrial cellular networks.

According to Mark Rasmussen, senior vice president of mobility for Intelsat, the new satellite connectivity will be “comparable” to high-speed broadband connections. Intelsat will connect to CNH machines globally from a network of 55 geostationary (GEO) satellites and more than 6,000 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

While the collaboration with CNH marks Intelsat’s first foray into agriculture, Rasmussen says the brand has more than 60 years of experience connecting many different types of vehicles including cargo ships and commercial airlines.

Satellite connections

The two types of satellites provide unique benefits for farm machines. GEO satellites are fixed in place at an extremely high altitude and provide slower internet speeds. But while it's not a fast connection, it’s an expansive one.

“With one transmission, they can update 50,000 machines at the same time,” Rasmussen says. GEO satellites are also good at exchanging data and communicating with the cloud, letting farmers fill work orders and execute job tasks remotely.

LEO satellites are closer to the ground and have higher speeds, enabling autonomy, which requires “more throughput. In a nutshell, we’re filling the gaps [in terrestrial coverage] worldwide,” Rasmussen says, noting that Intelsat’s dishes can seamlessly switch between these two different satellites. No matter where it is, the machine will always have either GEO or LEO satellite connection.

“As the first satellite communications company to provide multi-orbit connectivity to farmers around the world, Intelsat’s collaboration with CNH will unlock new capabilities in the most remote locations through our global communications platform,” says Dave Wajsgras, Intelsat CEO. “We’ve proven that ruggedized, built-for-purpose terminals that can access multiple satellite orbits from anywhere on Earth offer the highest network reliability, greater throughput and the best user experience.”

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About the Author(s)

Andy Castillo

Andy Castillo started his career in journalism about a decade ago as a television news cameraperson and producer before transitioning to a regional newspaper covering western Massachusetts, where he wrote about local farming.

Between military deployments with the Air Force and the news, he earned an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Bay Path University, building on the English degree he earned from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He's a multifaceted journalist with a diverse skill set, having previously worked as an EMT and firefighter, a nightclub photographer, caricaturist, features editor at the Greenfield Recorder and a writer for GoNomad Travel. 

Castillo splits his time between the open road and western Massachusetts with his wife, Brianna, a travel nurse who specializes in pediatric oncology, and their rescue pup, Rio. When not attending farm shows, Castillo enjoys playing music, snowboarding, writing, cooking and restoring their 1920 craftsman bungalow.

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