In this paper, we report the results of our comparison study between satellite measurements and the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) model on the seasonal and longitudinal changes of the low-latitude nighttime topside ionosphere during the period of solar maximum from June 2000 to July 2001. Satellite measurements were made by KOMPSAT-1 and DMSP F15 at 685 km altitude and 840 km altitude, respectively. The results show that the IRI2001 model gives reasonable density estimations for the summer hemisphere and the March equinox at both altitudes. However, the observed wintertime densities are smaller than the predictions of the IRI2001 model, especially at a higher (840 km) altitude, manifesting strong hemispheric asymmetries. The observed electron temperatures generally reside between the two estimations of IRI2001, one based on the Aeros-ISIS data and the other based on Intercosmos, and the latter estimation better represents the observations. With more or less monotonic increase with latitude, the temperature profiles of the IRI2001 model do not predict the enhancement seen around 15 degrees magnetic latitude of the winter hemisphere. Longitudinal variation, probably caused by the zonal winds, is seen in all seasons at both altitudes, while the IRI2001 model does not show a large variation. The observed density and temperature show significant changes according to the F10.7 values in the whole low-latitude region from 40 degrees S to 40 degrees N geomagnetic latitude. The effect is manifested as increases in the density and temperature, but not in the hemispheric asymmetry or in the longitudinal variation. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.