The SmartLNB is an innovative rain sensor based on the observation of the attenuation of signals transmitted via satellite. It is an Interactive Satellite Terminal (IST) whose original use is to provide a narrowband very low cost communication channel via satellite for applications that don't require high data rates (e.g. IoT monitoring, televoting, etc.). In the last few years some SCORE partners (MBI, UNIPI, LAMMA, CNR, PROGECOM) worked on innovative methods to use this device as a rain probe: by measuring the attenuation of the signal received by the IST from the satellite, through a patented algorithm, it is possible to get an estimation of the rain rate in almost realtime. The estimate is quite accurate at both low and high rain rates, which makes it a convenient solution for rain monitoring with estimates comparable to professional much more expensive sensors. In addition, the IST provides a communication channel, that can be used to send data from other sensors. SmartLNBs can be deployed in locations where terrestrial connectivity is not available or weak, since they make use of satellites for data transmissions of their measurements and data. Additional costs are associated with training and/or professional satellite TV installer.

Monitored Parameters:

  • Precipitation
  • Hazards:

  • Land and river flooding
  • ✓ Relevant to WP3 models ✓ Relevant to the EWSS


    Minimum Quantity : 1


    Sensor Properties
    Accuracy (error of the measurements) Unit of measurement Data Refresh Time (mins) Wi-Fi Connection 4G Connection External Power Supply Documentation
    0.1mm/hr mm/hr 1 False False True See available docs for SmartLNB
    Reference Partners Project Name Project Year Reference Paper Minimum Purchase Spatial Density
    MBI NEFOCAST 2018 Reference paper 1 1
    Purchase operations complexity Assembly/Calibration Operations Complexity Deployment operation Complexity Deployment Cost Data Analysis Operations Complexity
    Neutral Neutral High Easy
    Citizen Science Activities Complexity Assembly Public Involvement Deployment Public Involvement Data analysis Public Involvement Target Users
    Easy Limited - The unit comes already completely assembled; no preliminary operations prior to the installation are needed Limited - The deployment of a smart LNB requires the presence of a parabolic reflector antenna, like common antennas for receiving satellite broadcast TV. The sensor installation requires a technician and typically cannot be made by citizens without the required expertise. Associations of citizens or public institutions can offer the possibility to host smart LNBs on their roof and become a node of the rain monitoring network Limited - Raw data as well as data processing will be made available from a service centre, but some coding experience is required to access and manipulate data. Schools can be involved in data analysis activities, and in particular vocational technical schools can be involved in simple data processing activities. Eventual training events for interested students can be envisaged - this must meet available resources. local groups; local authorities


    The SmartLNB uses the Nefocast algorithm that runs in the Nefocast service center which is, for research uses and in the SCORE context, free of charge for the CCLLs.

    The same applies for the other recurring cost items involved with SmartLNBs which are:
    - access to Nefocast service center
    - satellite capacity for the service.

    SmartLNBs are devices that can be installed by individuals with basic satellite communications skills.
    The installation process involves physically mounting a satellite antenna (80cm dish) and precisely pointing the LNB in the satellite's direction using a dedicated app, which also handles unit registration on the satellite network. MBI offers remote assistance for SmartLNB installations. In certain cases, it may be necessary to engage authorised and qualified companies that can provide customers with a certification of the correct installation, which may vary depending on the country's requirements.

    Optionally the SmartLNB can be connected to the local network through its LAN port or to WI-FI (by using an additional WI-FI access point).

    The MBI satellite communication platform utilises SmartLNBs, Interactive Satellite Terminals (ISTs) with a forward link for media distribution and communication, and a return link that enables data transmission back through the satellite. Originally designed for communication and TV broadcasting, the platform has expanded its capabilities to include sensing precipitations and their intensity using Nefocast algorithms for rain rate estimation. The presence of a return channel allows the SmartLNB to function as a rain IoT sensor.

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