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FCC Touts 6G

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has seemingly joined forces with the marketing arm of the cellular industry in declaring that the spectrum between 7-16 GHz is now considered to be 6G. Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel recently announced that the agency would soon begin looking at the uses for this spectrum for mobile broadband.  more

Starlink’s New Business Broadband

Starlink has quietly updated its business broadband offerings. The original plan for businesses was $500 per month with a two-terabyte data cap. If a customer exceeded the data cap, the speed reduced to 1 Mbps for the remainder of the month unless a customer bought additional broadband at $1 per gigabyte. Starlink business comes with a premium antenna from HP at a one-time cost of $2,500. more

China and Taiwan Recognize Starlink’s Military Value

When Russia invaded Ukraine, SpaceX had around 2,000 satellites in orbit. It was clear from the first day of the war that a low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of around 2,000 satellites would be a valuable military and civilian asset. The first truckload of Starlink terminals arrived in Ukraine on February 28, 2022, four days after the invasion. By March 19, there were 5,000 terminals in Ukraine and 150,000 active daily users by May 2nd.China and Taiwan have both seen the strategic value of 2,000 Starlink satellites. more

The Problem Of 5G Hype

I'm writing this as the 5G hype cycle reaches a new crescendo. What is most striking is how few of those touting 5G (or "private 5G") is how little technical detail there is beyond saying it is the next generation of cellular protocols. Yes, one can look at volumes of specifications with myriad options and flavors but no sense of 5G as such. That alone should make one suspicious - why does one have to eschew wires to get 5G? more

Connecting Every Home in Africa - Starlink Backhaul?

The vision of Kenyan ISP Poa! Internet is "to bring internet to every home in Africa." Poa! offers unlimited, uncapped, 4 Mb/s fixed wireless connectivity to homes for 1,500 KSh ($11.64) per month plus a one-time installation fee of 3,500 KSh ($27.16). But wait, there's more. They provide a dual-SSID router, and the home SSID is used by trusted family members, and the open street SSID is for others. Street users get 100 MB of free data each day and are charged 15 KSh ($.16) per GB with no expiry .data if they exceed 100 MB on a given day. more

Fixed Wireless in Cities

I am often asked by cities about the option of building a municipal fixed wireless broadband network. As a reminder, fixed wireless, in this case, is not a cellular system but is the point-to-multipoint technology used by wireless Internet service providers (WISPs). My response has been that it's possible but that the resulting network is probably not going to satisfy the performance goals most cities have in mind. more

Starlink Comes to Africa - Markets and Competition

SpaceX Starlink Internet service will be available in several African nations in the second quarter of this year, and the price in Nigeria has been announced -- $600 for the "residential" terminal and a monthly fee of $43. Is there a market for Starlink at that price in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African nations? The IMF projects a GDP per capita of $2,580 for Nigeria this year (and $1,900 in Sub-Saharan Africa and $2,260 for Africa overall) so the market for individual consumer accounts will be much smaller than in what the IMF refers to as "advanced economies." more

Getting Serious About Satellite Texting

One of the more interesting telecom announcements at the CES electronics show in Vegas was the announcement from the partnership of Qualcomm and Iridium of plans to bring satellite texting capability to many more cell phones and other devices. We've already seen a few other announcements recently of the ability to make emergency text calls when out of reach of cell coverage. more

The Disappointment of 5G

Karl Bode recently wrote an excellent article highlighting the overhyping of wireless technologies. He's right, and for the last twenty years, we've been told that a world-changing wireless technology is coming soon, but none ever materialized. No wireless technology has been a bigger flop than 5G when comparing the hype to the eventual reality. The hype for 5G was amazingly over-the-top. more

Hole in Space - the Mother of All Video Chats

New technology enables new art forms and artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz (K&S) began working with geostationary satellite links in 1977. Their first work was an experiment in remote dance and music. Video of dancers at The Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and an educational television center in California was transmitted to a central control studio where a composite was formed and sent back to monitors the dancers could see. more

SpaceX Launches “Second Generation” Starlink Satellites

In interviews last Spring, Elon Musk said the data throughput of the next version of Starlink satellite (Gen2) would be almost an order of magnitude greater than that of the first generation and that the new Starship rocket would be needed to launch them. Regulatory and engineering delays slowed Starship's progress, so the Gen2 satellites Musk referred to at the time have not yet been launched. more

A New Definition of 6G

We now know how wireless carriers are going to continue the string of new G generations of cellular technology. 5G was originally defined to include spectrum up to 90 GHz or 100 GHz. In the last few years, international standards bodies have been developing new 6G standards in what is called the terahertz wavelengths between 100 GHz and 1 THz. more

Starlink Now Covers All of Australia

My colleague, Robert Smallwood in Geraldton, WA at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA Government), has been testing Starlink now since March 2022 and he reports on his experience and in general, provides updates about Starlink and its mother company, SpaceX. He allowed me to use his report to write this article. more

The Short History of the Internet: From ARPANET to the Metaverse

Last Saturday marked the 53rd anniversary of the Internet. While the vast majority of its five billion users have been online for less than a decade, the Internet was taken into use on October 29th, 1969, when two computers connected to the ARPANET exchanged a message. Although the Internet has been around for a while, it remained below most people's radar until the late 1990s when the dot com boom started. more

Using AM Radio Towers in Designing Wireless Networks

One existing resource that is often overlooked in designing wireless networks is AM radio towers. For the most part, companies deploying fixed wireless and microwave antenna have avoided these towers. This is due to the nature of AM radio, which transmits at such a low frequency that the entire tower is effectively used as the transmitting antenna. The entire tower is energized with the AM signal, and the typical AM tower sits on a base insulator that blocks the tower from being grounded.  more

News Briefs

47 of the World’s 70 Largest Economies Now Have Active 5G Networks, US Takes the Lead Over China

Global 5G Connections Expected to Reach 1.9 Billion by End of 2023 and 5.9 Billion by End of 2027

Norwegian Cruise Line Joins the Fleet of Cruise Liners to Adopt Starlink Satellite Broadband Service

China Takes on SpaceX: 13,000 Satellites to Compete With and Monitor SpaceX’s Starlink Constellations

Amazon Announces Project Kuiper Customer Terminals with Speeds up to 1Gbps

SpaceX and T-Mobile to Test Satellite-To-Cell Service This Year

China Developing Anti-Starlink Measures, Aims to Launch Nearly 13,000 Satellites

SpaceX Launches 1st Batch of New “V2 Mini” Starlink Satellites to Orbit With Four Times More Capacity

New EU Satellites to Protect Government Communications, Provide Connectivity and Surveillance

Amazon Gets FCC Approval to Deploy Its Project Kuiper Broadband Satellites

SpaceX Restricts Ukraine’s Use of Its Satellite Internet for Drones

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

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