Video of SpaceX Simulations

This is a video of Starlink simulation by Mark Handley, a professor at University College London. This is a video of the Phase 1 revision. It shows now a Starlink network is created with inter-satellite links and then used to simulate communicate between major cities across the globe.

This Starlink network is 2X faster then fiber networks over long distances. This will be the bread and butter feature of the network that will ensure it’s a financial success. Rural communities can take advantage of this success by becoming Starlink users.

For the reader who wants more details on Starlink, read this Draft Paper —Delay is Not an Option: Low Latency Routing in Space

 

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Indoors-Outdoors — 5Gs Dirty Little Secret

Mike Murphy, CTO for North America, Nokia Corp has some interesting insights into 5G, which will have some impacts on rural broadband. Eighty (80%) percent of traffic originates indoors and twenty (20%) percent outdoors. However mmWave 5G does not penetrate walls, windows, and trees very well if at all. It is important to remember that 5G is more than a cell phone carrier, it is being marketed as a broadband service, with some mobile phone capacity.

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Murphy explains:

. . . there is another dirty secret in the closet. The rule of thumb for capacity, as embedded in the 3GPP channel models, is that 80% of traffic originates indoors and 20% outdoors. Compounding that, there is a seasonal aspect to traffic. During the cold winter months in the north, there is even less traffic outdoors (likewise, in the hot summer months in the south). With LTE, indoor traffic is primarily served by outdoor cell sites, booming signals through walls and windows. This begs the question: What happens when 5G needs to handle that indoor traffic?

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to auction off Millimeter Wave (mmWave) (24GHz, 28GHz and 39GHz) spectrum over the next two years. But mmWave doesn’t like hard things such as walls, windows and trees. Penetration loss is significant. This means 5G mmWave, practically, will not really be able to service indoor demand from outdoors-in (unlike low band LTE). (For completeness, we should note that T-Mobile US Inc. ‘s 600MHz spectrum and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) Band 41 spectrum (2.5GHz) can help in this situation to a degree. However, the number of petabytes needed is very significant, and it is unlikely these solutions alone will suffice.)

So where does this leave us? There are only two options. The first is to use low- or mid-band spectrum outdoors, and blast millimeter wave indoors; the outside-in approach. But in the dense urban case, we are already using that spectrum! So, the only real alternative is new mid-band spectrum. For the moment, none is in sight in the US until about 2020+ when the 3.7-4.2GHz band — or parts of it — become available. The other is to deploy mmWave indoors. The problem with going indoors versus using the outdoors-in approach is that everyone wants to get inside. Imagine Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and all the others showing up at your building and wanting to deploy 5G mmWave inside every room. Perhaps neutral hosting solutions may help.

Before we finish, let’s dismiss one counter argument. Some will say, “But WiFi will fix that.” WiFi, however, has its own growth problems, thank you very much. WiFi demand is also growing, at least at 30% or more, and it too has looming capacity issues, with no significant new spectrum becoming available either.

Cellular demand, meanwhile, is separate, independent and additive. So, there is no getting around it. 5G needs to go and bang on some front doors.

Full Article at Light Reading 5G

Will the 5G providers be banging on the doors in small towns and villages to install mmWave 5G in multiple building after populating the town with small cell towers ever 500 feet. Not likely, as the costs would soon exceed the potential revenue. The mmWave spectrum is not the right technology for rural broadband, whereas LEO satellites seem to have more potential.

The rollout plan for 5G is to serve the dense urban areas and then the suburbs and finally some larger small cities in rural locations. The timeline is about ten years; thus the LEO satellite broadband will be available long before 5G gets anywhere near rural communities in the Sierra and elsewhere. LEO bandwidth should be available by 2020. Go Starlink and OneWeb!

starlink_graphic

Elon Musk Wants You to Stream Internet From Space

It’s yet another vision to completely remake an industry.

Elon Musk wants you to cut the cord to cable. He’s trying to raise $500 million for his SpaceX rocket company to blanket low-orbit space with up to 12,000 satellites to provide high-speed internet service — and he wants the first set of them in orbit by the middle of the year.

That might seem like an ambitious deadline, but anyone who’s watched Musk push SpaceX, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), or even his Boring Company forward knows he likes to go big. Making cheap internet available to everyone around the globe, and having half the world’s traffic go through his constellation of Starlink satellites? For the man who is arguably one of today’s most visionary leaders, it’s just another day ending in “y.”

Laser-fast communication

Early last year, SpaceX launched two prototype satellites into orbit, named Tintin A and Tintin B, and installed a series of ground stations around the country to communicate with them. SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years — the system will become operational when 800 satellites are in orbit — and to launch the full spectrum of 12,000 satellites by 2025.

Once in orbit, Starlink will receive signals from ground stations via radio waves. It will then transmit the signals between satellites with lasers; when a signal reaches the satellite over its destination, it will be beamed down with radio waves again. The process will speed communications to a rate that’s about twice what is possible with optical fiber.

The promise of the system is that it will provide direct-to-consumer wireless connections, instead of having signals rerouted through multiple waypoints as with cable and existing satellite TV, which results in relatively expensive service. SpaceX looks to dramatically reduce the cost of internet service for everyone.

Rest of the story HERE.  [Emphasis added]

If SpaceX starts launching in mid-summer, how long will it take to get 800 birds in space? I am thinking it will be 2020 before we see Internet streaming from space.  As for the low-cost projections, I will believe it when my first Starlink bill comes and it is less than expected.

SpaceX Starlink Projected Latency vs. My Wave Cable Latency

SpaceX is claiming it’s Starlink latency will be similar to cable latency.

“Because of the low orbits, SpaceX says its broadband network will have latencies as low as 25ms, similar to cable or fiber systems.”

Network latency is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. Latency is measured by sending a packet of data that is returned to the sender; the round-trip time is considered the latency. This is called pinging.

I have a data file of recorded ping data from my Wave connection from October 25th to November 8th, so thought I would make a comparison.   A simple Python program produced this graphic:

Screenshot 2018-11-17 14.29.22

The median ping was 33.87. If Starlink can maintain 25ms of latency, they will be better than my cable connection.

SpaceX Low Latency Starlink Swarm

SpaceX received FCC approval to deploy 7,518 broadband satellites, in addition to the 4,425 satellites that were approved eight months ago. That amounts to 11,943 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service.

starlink_graphic

The newly approved satellites would use frequencies between 37.5 and 42GHz for space-to-Earth transmissions and frequencies between 47.2 and 51.4GHz for Earth-to-space transmissions, the FCC said.

SpaceX’s initial 4,425 satellites are expected to orbit at altitudes of 1,110km to 1,325km, a fraction of the altitude of traditional broadband satellites. Because of the low orbits, SpaceX says its broadband network will have latencies as low as 25ms, similar to cable or fiber systems. SpaceX has also said it will provide gigabit speeds and that it will provide broadband access worldwide. No word on data caps or cost of access.  It is high latency, data caps and high cost that makes current satellite broadband so undesirable.

FCC rules require the launch of 50 percent of satellites within six years of authorization and all of them within nine years unless a waiver is granted.

While all this sounds positive for rural families and business seeking broadband access the deployments schedule and orbits will determine the access. Low satellites will pass overhead rapidly only providing a small window of access if another satellite does not pick up the signal and continue the connection. While low latency is good it does not mean much if there is no access window. This is area for more exploration. Stay Tuned.

A portion of this report was adapted from this Arstechnica article.