Wireless

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The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

Convergence: ENUM is a Big Deal

Convergence as a technology concept has been around for decades. Many have predicted the convergence of electronics and entertainment, of PC's and TV's, and more recently of WiFi and cellular. All of these areas are in fact undergoing various degrees of convergence but there is another area that many are not as familiar with. It is called ENUM...The idea can be extremely useful when you consider that most telephones are limited to twelve keys on a keypad. Ever tried to enter your alphanumeric login ID and password to a web site on a cell phone or Personal Digital Assistant? It is next to impossible! The biggest impact of ENUM will probably be for Voice Over IP (VoIP). In fact, it could be the tipping point. ENUM is a really big deal. more

From Loon to Taara: Google’s Moonshot Delivering Wireless Backhaul

You may recall a number of years ago when Google experimented with delivering broadband from balloons in an effort labeled Project Loon. The project was eventually dropped, but a remnant of the project has now resurfaced as Taara - broadband delivered terrestrially by lasers. more

Starlink Promising Satellite Cellular Service: A Possible Game-Changer for Remote Areas and Outdoor Enthusiasts

Starlink recently launched a new webpage that advertises the future ability to deliver text, voice, and data to 4G cell phones via satellite. The texting service is supposed to be available in 2024, with voice and data coming in 2025. The service will require a user to have a view of the open sky. more

Is There a Role for ICANN in Satellite Internet Governance?

A recent invitation to participate in a webinar to discuss ICANN's Role in Satellite Internet Governance as an enabler of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 prompted me to consider this issue. As a legal scholar with expertise in telecommunications infrastructure, I had much to say and discuss about the new mega-constellation phenomenon and its potential role in achieving SDG9, which, for me, is a multifaceted and fascinating subject. more

Google Bard Fails to Answer Satellite Internet Questions

In an earlier post, I asked whether electronically steered antennas (ESAs) would replace parabolic antennas in satellite ground stations. I did some research and concluded that it is likely that they will. Next, I discussed the same question with ChatGPT and, while it made several false statements, it made a relevant point that I had overlooked. The relevant addition was positive, but the errors were troublesome, so I decided to try ChatGPT's competitor Google Bard. 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

Kyiv Independent Reports on Starlink in Ukraine

"Saint Elon" is a bit much but ... It started with a tweet from Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation. The quoted text below is excerpts from How Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet keeps Ukraine online in The Kyiv Independent. "Among the Ukrainian military, Elon Musk, the richest tech entrepreneur in the U.S., is often half-jokingly referred to as 'Saint Elon.'. The reason is Starlink, Musk's satellite communication system that keeps many Ukrainians, most importantly the military... more

Bringing Broadband to the Arctic

The Arctic region has largely been left out of the broadband arena in the past due to the high cost of building last-mile broadband infrastructure. The primary broadband available in the region has been provided for decades by Iridium Communications, which provided only low-bandwidth connections capable of supporting satellite phones and low-bandwidth monitoring devices. more

Smart Highways or Smart Cars?

It wasn't too many years ago when you couldn't read an article about broadband infrastructure without hearing about the need for smart highway infrastructure that was going to enable self-driving cars. There were various versions of how this would happen, but the predominant concept was that 5G networks along roads would communicate with cars and would enable efficient and safe travel by eliminating driver error by taking the driver out of the equation. more

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

The Fight Over 12 GHz Spectrum

For an agency that has tried to wash its hands from regulating broadband, the FCC finds itself again trying to decide an issue that is all about broadband. There is a heavyweight battle going on at the FCC over how to use the 12 GHz spectrum, and while this may seem like a spectrum issue, it's all about broadband. 12 GHz spectrum is key to several broadband technologies. First, this is the spectrum that is best suited for transmitting data between the earth and satellite constellations. more

5G for Cars – an Idea That Won’t Die

An industry group calling itself 5G Americas has published a whitepaper that touts the advantages of a smart auto grid powered by 5G and the C-V2X technology. This technology is the car connectivity standard that much of the industry has gelled around, replacing the older DSRC standard. Over a decade ago, the FCC became so enamored over the idea of self-driving cars that the agency dedicated the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for the sole use of smart cars. more

Computing Clouds in Orbit – A Possible Roadmap

Last week, I predicted that much of the Internet and most cloud datacenters would launch into space in the next ten years. Today the only part of the Internet in space is a very small amount of "bent-pipe" access: signals which go from a user to a satellite and bounce back down to a ground station which feeds them into the terrestrial internet where all processing is done and all queries answered by internet-connected servers, many of them in cloud data centers. more

New Innovations in Free Space Optics

I read an article on the Finley Engineering blog that talks about new research with free-space optics. For those not familiar with the term, this means communication gear that communicates directly using light without any wires. The article talks about a Chinese team of scientists who have used light to transmit ultrahigh-definition video signals between high-rise buildings. more