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Can SpaceX Launch 30,000 Second-Generation Starlink Satellites? Maybe

The bottom line is that success is not guaranteed, but neither is failure -- there is a non-zero probability of success. On May 26th, SpaceX applied for permission to launch 30,000 "second-generation" Starlink broadband Internet satellites. (Note that the software on Starlink satellites is updated about once a week). The application narrative states that the second-generation satellites will be configured... more

SpaceX Launches Another Batch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites

SpaceX launched its eighth Starlink mission via the Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday, carrying 60 more satellites for its Internet satellite constellation, bringing the total in operation on orbit to 480. more

What is Light-Touch Regulation?

One thing I've noticed recently is that a lot of people are climbing on board the idea of building better broadband to rural America. Many people seem to think that the FCC can somehow act to fix a lot of the shortcomings of rural broadband - but in doing so, they have missed the entire point of what the FCC calls 'light-touch' regulation - because, from a practical perspective, broadband is not regulated at all. more

Is Teleworking Here to Stay?

Broadband networks are stretched thin today due to the large numbers of adults and students working from home. There are many stories on the web that indicate that a lot of employees are not going to be going back to the office when the pandemic is over. Here are two stories about a trend towards more teleworking from the dozens that a Google search uncovered. more

The Upload Crisis

Carriers continue to report on the impact of COVID-19 on their networks. One of the more interesting statistics that caught my eye was when Comcast reported that upload traffic on their network was up 33% since March 1. Comcast joins the rest of big ISPs in saying that their networks are handling the increased traffic volumes. By 'handling' the volumes, they mean that their networks are not crashing and shutting down. But I think there is a whole lot more to these headlines than what they are telling the public. more

The Internet Turbocharged Globalization

Back around the turn of the century, the Internet reduced international communication costs by 99% in just a couple of years. In 1998 phone calls to China and India from the US cost more than $1.00/minute and data communication costs were similarly high. International supply chains were very difficult to set up and costly to manage because of the cost of communication. more

Amazon’s Orbiting Infrastructure

I have been following satellite Internet service since the 1990s, but I was surprised when I learned last week that Amazon had filed an application for a 3,236-satellite constellation of low-earth orbit Internet service satellites - Project Kuiper. I shouldn't have been surprised - Amazon was an infrastructure company from the start. In his first post-IPO letter to shareholders in 1997, Jeff Bezos pointed out that their distribution center capacity grew from 50,000 to 285,000 square feet and said their goal remained... more

A New Busy Hour – One of the Many Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the many consequences of the coronavirus is that networks are going to see a shift in busy hour traffic. Busy hour traffic is just what it sounds like -- it's the time of the day when a network is busiest, and network engineers design networks to accommodate the expected peak amount of bandwidth usage. Verizon reported on March 18 that in the week since people started moving to work from home that they've seen a 20% overall increase in broadband traffic. more

Why Are the U.S. Broadband Prices So High?

I've wondered for years about why broadband prices are higher in the U.S. than the rest of the world. The average price in other industrial counties is significantly lower. In France, broadband averages $31, Germany is $35, Japan is $35, South Korea is $33, and the U.K. is $35. The average price of broadband in the U.S. is approaching $70, so we're at twice the price as other countries. more

Can 5G Replace WiFi?

Verizon recently posted a webcast with investors where Ronan Dunne, EVP and CEO of the Verizon Consumer Group said that he believed that 5G hotspots using millimeter wave spectrum would eventually displace WiFi in homes. He cites major benefits of 5G over WiFi. He believes that a 5G network will be more reliable and more secure. He thinks that people will value the safety that comes from having traffic inside their home being encrypted... more

Broadband in China

For years I've been hearing how we are losing the broadband battle with China, so I decided to take a look at the current state of broadband in the country. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) publishes statistics about the state of broadband in the country, and I used the Statistical Report on Internet Development in China from August 2019 in writing this blog. more

Deep Sea Diving: The State of Submarine Cable Technology

There is something quite compelling about engineering a piece of state-of-the-art technology that is intended to be dropped off a boat and then operate flawlessly for the next twenty-five years or more in the silent depths of the world's oceans! It brings together advanced physics, marine technology, and engineering to create some truly amazing pieces of networking infrastructure. more

5 Broadband Predictions for 2020

The 2010's have been nothing short of transformative in the broadband space. Despite disappointing deployment rates across the U.S., the past decade has been a period of exponential change and innovation. As we look toward the new decade, here are five key predictions based on current trends and developments in the broadband industry. more

Spectrum and Weather Forecasting

There is currently a brewing controversy over the allocation of various radio frequencies for 5G that could have a negative impact on weather forecasting. Weather forecasting has become extremely sophisticated and relies on masses of data gathered from weather satellites and other data-gathering devices. The masses of data, along with modern supercomputers and data center computing, have significantly improved the ability to predict future weather. more

Starlink Making a Space Grab

SpaceNews recently reported that Elon Musk and his low-orbit space venture Starlink have filed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to launch an additional 30,000 broadband satellites in addition to the 11,927 now in the planning stages. This looks like a land grab and Musk is hoping to grab valuable orbital satellite paths to keep them away from competitors. more