Verizon 5G Mini Tower in Chicago (Updated)

This is ugly:

Chicago_Verizon 5G minitower
If this is what 5G mini towers are going to look like 5G is going to be a hard sell in older cities that value their historic charm. This one is in Chicago, not the most charming place in the world. Do you want one of these on every block in your community?

Digital Trends has a review of the Galaxy-10S 5G phone from Samsung in Chicago, details HERE.

Update 05-17-19:

5G networks have only just begun to spread—a few providers, including AT&T and Verizon, have started going live in a handful of cities. Already, though, the NIMBY problem looms large for those who want to see the next generation of wireless technology proliferate.

And last month, in what could be a precedent-setting decision, a San Francisco judge ruled that the aesthetic argument alone can be enough to justify the rejection of new 5G infrastructure.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by T-Mobile against the city and county, challenging a 2011 city ordinance limiting telecommunications companies from installing 5G lines and equipment on utility poles. T-Mobile argued that the local law was preempted by state law. Now, a judge has determined it wasn’t, and agreed with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s argument that putting 5G equipment up on San Francisco’s utility poles could take away from the city’s allure as a tourist destination, by “diminish[ing] the City’s beauty.”





SpaceX Plans to Launch Dozens of Starlink Broadband Satellites Next Week (Updated 05-12-19)

GeekWire has the details:

SpaceX confirmed that it will launch dozens of Starlink satellites in one go, as early as May 15, setting the stage for what’s expected to become a constellation of thousands of satellites providing global broadband data access from low Earth orbit.

The company’s president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, laid out those details today at the Satellite 2019 conference in Washington, D.C. In an email exchange with GeekWire, SpaceX confirmed what Shotwell said but could add no further information.

[. . .]

Two test satellites, nicknamed TinTin A and B, were launched in February 2018, and Musk reported a year ago that the broadband connection was good enough for playing video games. But the spacecraft design is said to have changed significantly since then. The launch set for next week at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida will be the first to carry satellites reflecting the new design.

Shotwell characterized this first wave as a demonstration set, with no satellite-to-satellite communication links. Depending on how the demonstrations proceed, from two to six Starlink launches could follow by the end of this year, she said.

[. . .]

SpaceX has said it plans to start offering broadband service in the 2020-2021 time frame, and the company is facing an FCC requirement to put half of the satellites in its first constellation into operation by 2024.

The full GeekWire article is HERE.

“Dozens” of satellites on a single launch” One dozen is 12, two dozen would be 24, three dozen would be 36.

Update 05/12/19: We now know that SpaceX “dozens” are five dozen or 60 Starlinks per launch. See the 05/12/19 blog post.


6G: the Wireless Communications Network for Collaborative and AI Applications

The MIT Technology Review examines the details in Ready for 6G? How AI Will Shape the Network of the Future.

With 5G networks rolling out around the world, engineers are turning their attention to the next incarnation

Mobile-phone technology has changed the way humans understand and interact with the world and with each other. It’s hard to think of a technology that has more strongly shaped 21st-century living.

The latest technology — the fifth generation of mobile standards, or 5G — is currently being deployed in select locations around the world. And that raises an obvious question. What factors will drive the development of the sixth generation of mobile technology? How will 6G differ from 5G, and what kinds of interactions and activity will it allow that won’t be possible with 5G?

Today, we get an answer of sorts, thanks to the work of Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Abreu at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. These guys have mapped out the limitations of 5G and the factors they think will drive the development of 6G. Their conclusion is that artificial intelligence will be the main driver of mobile technology and that 6G will be the enabling force behind an entirely new generation of applications for machine intelligence.

Continue reading HERE.

The full paper by Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Thadeu Freitas de Abreu is HERE

Rural communities with enough populations density to meet the telecom ROI hurdles will be the tail end installs, with a ten-year rollout. Many urbanites will get 6G before rural communities have access to 5G. Rural communities may have satellite broadband access by 2021, with access to all the AI they could ever imagine, before 5G arrives. Why worry about 6G?

Radio Astronomers Not Happy About Constellations of LEO Satellites

Space Daily has some details:

Today, radio astronomy faces a new front of enormous satellite constellations, the big three being: SpaceX’s Starlink, OneWeb, and IridiumNEXT. The SpaceX Starlink satellite constellation aims to launch around 12,000 satellites to serve the purpose of a space-based Internet system. The OneWeb constellation’s end plan is to have almost 3,000 satellites in orbit to also serve the purpose of an Internet service. Iridium NEXT, like the original constellation, is a telecommunications satellite constellation consisting of 66 satellites. Of the three, Starlink obviously grabs the most attention and instills the most fear for obvious reasons. Harvey Liszt, astronomer and spectrum manager for the NRAO, reached out to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in February 2018 to express concern over SpaceX’s constellation.

“SpaceX, which plans to use the 10.7 – 12.7 GHz band for its downlink, has not yet fulfilled its obligations under US131. Coordination between SpaceX and the AUI observatories (together with NSF) trailed off inconclusively around the middle of 2017 after a tentative and rather preliminary treatment of radio astronomy’s concerns and the manner in which SpaceX planned to address them.”

Continue reading HERE.

As a former Amateur Radio Astronomer and visitor to radio astronomy observatories across the nation, I understand the magnitude of the problem.  I have visited the Green Bank Radio Observatory several times, and the Very Large Array was an excellent experience.


We drove up to the VLR about three in the afternoon, and as we stood outside our vehicle, all the antenna is the array started to move, sweeping across the sky toward the sun. The sun is sometimes used by an astronomer to calibrate receivers, we have no idea if this was the case this time. We drove on to the central facility, and the doors were all lock, but we found some stairs and platform that let us look in windows of the observer station. It was vacant, no observers at the controls.  It was spooky watch the antenna move and knowing the control room was empty, no humans present. The VLA is monitored and controlled remotely.

Cloud Computing from Space Attracting Aerospace Giant

Geekwire: Is the final frontier the next frontier for cloud computing?

One of the presentations planned for Amazon’s re:MARS conference in June suggests that Lockheed Martin is putting serious thought into the idea of space-based cloud services. The presentation, titled “Solving Earth’s Biggest Problems With a Cloud in Space,” features Yvonne Hodge, vice president and chief information officer at Lockheed Martin Space.

Just because an executive is talking about the subject doesn’t necessarily mean the aerospace giant has a plan in the works. But the concept would fit in nicely with Lockheed Martin’s previously announced partnership with Amazon on AWS Ground Station, a cloud-based satellite communications and control service.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon unveiled plans this month for a 3,236-satellite constellation, code-named Project Kuiper, which would make broadband internet access available to the estimated 4 billion people around the world who are currently underserved.

Extending cloud networks into space would provide yet another boost for global commerce, and potentially for global welfare as well. Here’s how the possibilities are described in the abstract for Hodge’s talk:

“Can a cloud in space impact the world’s poverty? Are there ways to make agriculture more efficient? Can internet connectivity for the world change how the world lives? Join this interactive discussion as we consider new approaches to solving Earth’s problems including how a cloud in space could positively impact our lives using space data.”

Continue Reading HERE.

Accessing the Cloud via LEO satellite networks is faster than accessing them over fiber networks when long distances are involved according to studies.  A San Francisco to London link is 50% faster over satellite links than an undersea fiber link according to simulations. More details HERE.


How Small are SpaceX and OneWeb Satellites

Russell Steele


The OneWeb satellite has been described to be about the size of a beer refrigerator. That may be hard for some to visualize in the above graphic, so here is a beer refrigerator sold on Amazon.


The SpaceX Starlink satellite is reported to be 1.1 meters (39in) long and 0.7 meters (28in) wide and 0.7 meters (28in) tall. The beer refrigerator above is 37.5 x 26.4 x 21.2 inches a bit smaller than a Starlink bird, but it gives you a sense of the size.

So, we can say these LEO Sats are about the size of a large beer cooler.

Fearing Cancer From 5G, Portland City Council May Ask FCC to Investigate

Fearing unknown health risks, members of the City Council in Portland, Oregon, will vote Wednesday to oppose the rollout of 5G wireless networks.

In a proposed resolution, Mayor Ted Wheeler, along with Commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz, write that there’s evidence suggesting wireless networks can cause health problems — including cancer.

They express concern that the Federal Communications Commission has not conducted enough research to demonstrate that 5G networks are safe, while at the same time prohibiting state and local governments from passing their own regulations on telecommunications technology.

And while Wheeler, Eudaly, and Fritz are correct about the FCC’s power to dictate how state and local governments manage wireless networks, the connection between 5G networks and cancer is a lot more complicated than they say it is.

What Does the Science Say About 5G and Cancer?

“There is evidence to suggest that exposure to radio frequency emissions generated by wireless technologies could contribute to adverse health conditions such as cancer,” reads the proposed resolution. This evidence comes from a large-scale study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The final results of this study, published in November 2018, showed a strong association between the type of radiation used for mobile phone signals and certain types of cancerous tumors in lab rats.

But that’s where the situation gets tough.

how-4g-antennas-broadcast-signals-compared-to-how-5g-antennas-beam-signals-across-a-city4g vs 5g signals

How 4G antennas broadcast signals compared to how 5G antennas beam signals across a city.

The NTP study, which took place over 10 years and involved exposing more than 7,000 rats and mice to radio-frequency radiation — the type used in cell phones — didn’t actually involve 5G networks. It didn’t even involve 4G or 4G LTE, which are used today. It focused only on signals used by wireless technology under the 2G and 3G standards.

Continue reading HERE for a discussion of Local vs Federal Regulations

Here is some insight into the impact of 4G on brain cancer:


Use of 4G has not increased brain cancer rates,  there is a slight decline.  Your thoughts on the danger of 5G signals.

Here’s why Amazon is trying to reach every inch of the world with satellites providing internet

CNBC has the details:

  • Amazon is working on Project Kuiper, which would put 3,236 satellites into orbit to provide high-speed internet to any point on the globe.

  • “You can see the clear profit motive here for Amazon: 4 billion new customers,” Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson said.

  • CNBC spoke to more than a dozen space industry analysts and executives about Amazon’s proposal and the customers, competitors and costs involved.

In my opinion, this is the money quote:

Two industry officials said that this move “validates the market model” for these immense internet satellite networks, especially since “Amazon is a publicly traded company” with a broader shareholder base, unlike other space companies. Additionally, Amazon’s entrance “makes an already challenging market even more competitive,” one executive said.

Full Article is HERE.

There are still challenges ahead, as some dictator controlled countries do not want an open internet overhead, especially one selling ideas contrary to their socialist/communist doctrine.  Interesting times ahead.


CETF: Internet for All

Sunne Wright McPeak
President and CEO
California Emerging Technology Fund

. . . three in four unconnected households remain unaware that they may be eligible for discount home Internet service for as low as $10-$15 a month. We need Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to do more advertising to reach eligible households, including placing ads with community media and publicly reporting their progress.

Here’s what you can do: Help get all Californians connected by getting the word out about available affordable offers in your community. Go to the CETF-sponsored Internet For All Now website and spread the word in your neighborhoods and among your networks. Together, we can build a stronger, more connected California.

Full Document Access HERE.

OneWeb Time Line Impacts


OneWeb Constellation 

The timeline on the OneWeb website has some details, with operational launches starting in 2019 and continuing through 2020. Some exciting years ahead :

  • 2019: Start satellite launches every 21 days for two years, from multiple launch sites.
  • 2020: Turn on the services for early adopters. [ Ground terminals can provide, WiFI, 3G, LTE, and 5G signal modulation, depending on customer needs.]
  • 2021: Global G5 ready coverage to customer communities everywhere on the planet.

OneWeb Terminal

The FCC buildout schedule for rural community 4G LTE is over the next ten years, stating in 2019. If telecommunication providers are building out 4G LTE in rural areas on government subsidies they are not going to be building comp[eting 5G networks in the same market.  The expected build-out for 5G is ten years, starting with the dense urban areas, progressing to transportation corridors and then rural communities were population density is sufficient to cover the installation and operating costs.  Telecommunication is a return on investment driven business.  Investors want a return on their investment .

Given that 4G LTE and 5G  broadband for many rural communities could be years in the future, satellite broadband will be available in 2021, which is long before 5G will be available in many rural communities.  Assuming that satellite broadband is a viable business model and one or more of the planned services survive.  The competition is going to be vigorous with three or more LEO broadband providers offering services.

SpaceX is rumored to have the first 75 Starlink spacecraft build, and they could also start launching in the last half of 2019. The race is on to provide rural communities 5G levels of broadband service.  It looks like OneWeb is in the lead.