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Starlink to Go - Stress Tested in Ukraine and Now Available to You

Russians have targeted Ukrainian electricity and communication infrastructure. In some areas, there may not be any utility poles left standing, and underground conduits may have been bombed to oblivion. Starlink has been an important tool for these brave people to coordinate their resistance to Putin's brutal invasion. Satellite communication doesn't require any middle-mile infrastructure. more

Using LEOs and GEOs

Once you head away from the areas serviced by modern terrestrial cable infrastructure, the available digital communications options are somewhat limited. Some remote areas are served using High-Frequency radio systems, using radio signals that bounce off the ionosphere to provide a long-distance but limited bandwidth service. Or there are satellite-based services based on spacecraft positioned in geostationary orbital slots. more

The Unprecedented Role of the Internet in the War in Ukraine

The impact of the Internet in the Russia-Ukraine war is unprecedented in speed and scope. The most visible example of this has been President Zelenskyy's use of social media and teleconferencing in his roles as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, a global diplomat, and a leader of the Ukrainian people. more

The Death of Millimeter-Wave Cellular?

Apple recently announced that it is not building millimeter-wave spectrum antennas into the next generation SE iPhone. Interestingly, this is a phone sold by Verizon, which spent a year advertising on TV and showing us speed tests on cellphones that were receiving gigabit speeds. more

Five Thousand SpaceX Starlink Terminals for Ukraine

On March 1, I wrote that a small number of SpaceX Starlink terminals had arrived in Ukraine, and they would be an important asset for distribution to selected government and resistance leaders and journalists. I didn't know who would get the terminals or how many there were, but it was a single truckload. A week or so later, we learned that two more shipments of terminals had arrived and fifty of them went to DTEK, a company struggling to repair Ukrainian electrical infrastructure. more

SpaceX to Launch Satellites for Competitor OneWeb

On March 2, Russia covered the US flag on the Roscosmos Space Agency rocket that was scheduled to launch 36 OneWeb broadband satellites on March 5. The Russians made two obviously untenable demands -- that OneWeb guarantee that the satellites would not be used for military purposes and the United Kingdom government remove its investment in the company. OneWeb declined, and the satellites were removed from the rocket. more

SpaceX Starlink in Ukraine – a Week Later

Last week I wrote about the arrival of a truckload of SpaceX Starlink terminals in Ukraine and their potential value to government and resistance leaders. A lot has happened in the ensuing week - this is an update. Last week, using Mike Puchol's Starlink tracking service, I found that users in Kyiv would have 100 percent uptime with connections through as many as nine satellites to ground stations in Turkey, Poland, and Lithuania. more

SpaceX Starlink Service in Ukraine Is an Important Government Asset

At 4:04 AM on February 26 Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine requested Starlink service from Elon Musk and at 2:45 PM on the 26th, Elon Musk tweeted "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route." On February 28 at 12:29 PM Fedorov posted a photo of a truck load of terminals. (Kyiv is 10 hours ahead of California). more

SpaceX Is Testing Starlink Roaming

Last April, Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink "should be fully mobile later this year, so you can move it anywhere or use it on an RV or truck in motion." It is good to know that mobility with a standard dish is in the works, but it's not yet available. David Lang had been able to connect his Starlink terminal about fifteen miles from his home in Simi Valley, California, but when he brought it to my place in Carpinteria, California, about forty-three miles away and in a different coverage cell, it failed to connect. more

Starlink’s zoomready Rating Is Going Down

zoomready is open-source shareware I wrote to measure the suitability of an internet connection for teleconferencing. As you can see above, Starlink had an average zoomready rating of 2.66 out of a possible 3.0 over the four measured days. The problem is NOT bandwidth, which has fluctuated but stayed above the minimums needed for good teleconferencing. The problems are failures (most of them short), latency, and jitter. more

Can Satellite Broadband Be Affordable?

When we first heard of the possibility of broadband from low-orbit satellites, there was a lot of speculation that the technology could bring affordable broadband to the masses around the globe. The latest announcement from Starlink shows that affordable broadband is probably not coming in the immediate future. Starlink announced a premium tier of service with a $500 monthly fee for 150-500 Mbps. more

Update on China SatNet’s GuoWang Broadband Constellation – Can They Do It?

In 2020, China applied to operate GuoWang, a constellation of 12,992 low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband Internet satellites, and in 2021, it became clear that it was intended to become China’s global LEO broadband constellation. Can they do it? Maybe, but it will take a long time. China does not have the capacity to launch 12,992 satellites today. I don’t know the mass of their planned satellites, but GuoWang is informally referred to as China’s answer to Starlink. more

The Battle for IoT

There is an interesting battle going on to be the technology that monetizes the control of Internet of Things devices. Like a lot of tech hype, IoT has developed a lot slower than initially predicted -- but it's now finally becoming a big business. I think back to a decade ago when tech prognosticators said we'd soon be living in a virtual cloud of small monitors that would monitor everything in our life. According to those early predictions, our farm fields should already be fully automated, and we should all be living in the smart home envisioned by the Jetsonsmore

Top Broadband Stories of 2021

Every year I write a blog talking about the trends that I think we're likely to see in the coming year. But 2021 was such an unusual year for all of us that I thought it would also be useful to talk about what we accomplished in the industry over the last year while fending off a pandemic. All in all, it was quite a year. more

When Will We See Real 5G?

The non-stop wireless industry claims that we've moved from 4G to 5G finally slowed to the point that I stopped paying attention to it during the last year. There is an interesting article in PC Magazine that explains why 5G has dropped off the front burner. The article cites interviews with Art Pouttu of Finland's University of Oulu about the current state and the future of 5G. That university has been at the forefront of the development of 5G technology and is already looking at 6G technology. more

News Briefs

SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Internet Service Has Received 500K Preorders, Says the Company

Government of India Gives the Go-Ahead for 5G Technology and Spectrum Trials, Avoids Chinese Firms

Alphabet to Shut down Loon, its Balloon Based Internet Access Project

SpaceX Gets FCC’s Approval to Bid in a Federal Auction for Rural-Broadband Funding

The Defense Department Opening Large Areas of Mid-Band Spectrum to Help US Compete With China in 5G

UK Bans Huawei 5G Equipment, Also Orders 5G Kit to Be Removed From UK Networks by 2027

Alphabet’s Loon Goes Live With Its Commercial Internet Service in Kenya

Japan Fueling China’s Leap to 5G, but for How Long?

Department of Commerce to Allow US Companies Work With Chinese to Develop 5G and Other Standards

SpaceX Launches Another Batch of 60 Starlink Internet Satellites

FCC Grants ISPs Temporary Access to Wireless Spectrum to Help Handle Demand During Pandemic

FCC Proposes Over $200 Million in Fines Against Four Largest Wireless Carriers

FCC Gives Google, Sony and Others Full Authorization for Commercial Deployment of 3.5 GHz Spectrum

New York City Releases Internet Master Plan For City’s Broadband Future

Germany’s New Rules for Developing 5G Mobile Networks Will Not Exclude China’s Huawei Technologies

EU Member States Release Report on Coordinated Risk Assessment on Cybersecurity in 5G Networks

Wi-Fi Alliance Launches Wi-Fi 6 Certification Program

Study Reveals U.S. Carriers Throttle Online Video on Their Mobile Networks Even When Not Congested

OneWeb Fails in Latest Attempt to Get Russian Approval for Its Worldwide Internet Coverage Plan

Telesat and the Government of Canada Join Forces to Tackle Canada’s Digital Divide

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