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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

The US-China Technology Cold War Battle Over Optical Communication in Space

The United States and its allies are in a technology cold war with China and its allies. This is evidenced by major battles like the US ban on Huawei and China's drive for technological independence and their global infrastructure program to create a digital silk road. (The cold war began under Trump, but President Biden is continuing it). There are other, less well-known battles like the battle over optical communication in space. more