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A bold plan to blanket the world with high-speed satellite Internet can not be as crazy as it sounds can be a license to print money, according to a leading Internet networks expert.

Low latency routing in space, where a swarm of low-Earth orbit satellites and super low-speed Internet, sounds more effort and expenditure than it is worth. But the idea has been heavily explored by Silicon Valley in recent years – and one person in particular wants to make it a reality. And now you know him well.

Is the controversial billionaire, Elon Musk, whose private rocket company, SpaceX, wants to build a group of communications satellites as part of a project called Starlink.

The company received approval on Friday by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States (FCC) to send another 7518 satellites to space as part of an ambitious plan, and the 4400 has already been approved.

The main elements of such a project were made before but certainly not to the extent SpaceX would have needed for Starlink to succeed.

Professor Mark Handley of the Department of Computer Science at University College. London is an expert on network topology and recently set up to create a simulation of how Starlink might work.

"The devil is in detail, and SpaceX seems to push the boundaries of what was previously done on several fronts simultaneously," he told But he thinks the project is possible.

Professor Handley has toyed with the FCC's submissions to get a rough idea of ​​what SpaceX hopes to do. Most interesting, it is likely that the company will rely on lasers rather than radio waves to fire between satellites, as it did not request any radio provider for satellite communications.

"Mainly we concluded that by keeping all radio frequencies in inter-satellite communications and discussing certain components of optical communications that might survive again," said Professor Handel. "It's later confirmed in the FCC information media, but we still do not know exactly how they plan to use the laser links to connect the satellites together."

The following video shows how it might look. Prof. Handley said he used educated guesses and basic physics to "fill the gaps" of what might be possible for SpaceX.

Alon's great weapon

SpaceX has some of the most advanced rocket technology in the world, and its pioneering rocket missiles will be essential to the Starlink program. The missile system allows accelerators, usually deleted after a single use, to land safely back on the ground and use them for another launch.

"Without it, it's hard to see how sustainable it was," said Professor Handley. "It is important to understand that they are not only building it once. The satellites have only a lifespan of five to seven years, so they look at the need to launch an average of two satellites a day, on an ongoing basis.

"They may get around 25 to 30 satellites on one rocket, although much more if their next-generation BFR missile works, so it's not as crazy as it seemed at first."

SpaceX, which works closely with NASA, is clearly backed by the US government.

"I'm excited to see what these services may ensure and what these stars offer to offer," said FCC Chairman Ei Pie on Friday after SpaceX received approval to launch additional satellites, provided that goes ahead with its program.

License to print money

Apart from providing internet in almost every corner of the globe, a network like this one provides one big advantage – it has lower potential and latency for lower long distance communications. This is because free space lasers communicate at the speed of light in a vacuum, which is faster than the speed of light through glass as what is used in optical fiber cables on the ground.

And according to Professor Handley, there lies a potential genius.

He believes that something like Starlink can be very appealing to high-frequency traders in large banks, who may be willing to fork for a quick advantage when it comes to trading-based algorithm on the stock exchanges.

This may sound like a foreign idea, but being able to shave milliseconds outside of your latency can translate into a big dollar for those companies who are looking for the edge to be able to respond to the market faster than others.

Michael Lewis' book Video Games Described the rise of commerce frequently, and begins to describe a US $ 300 million project by Spread Networks – a 1331-kilometer cable that runs through mountains and rivers from Chicago to New Jersey – with the sole purpose of reducing the transmission time of Data from 17 to 13 milliseconds.

Theoretically, SpaceX can charge high premiums to access its fast superlink network.

"I think it's a low latency advantage that will be making the most money, and its use by the finance industry will probably pay off a lot of bills," said Professor Handley.

"I think the social benefits of connecting remote places will be huge, and they will contribute revenue, but if it was just a connection to remote places, I do not think Starlink can pay for itself."

Professor Handley was in the US this week presenting his research work on the Starlink simulation conference in Seattle.

"Perhaps surprisingly, not many network researchers know about Starlink's plans," he said.

"This is not going to be the existing Internet placed in space – the rapidly changing nature of satellite lanes puts all kinds of interesting research questions on the net, and will no doubt keep us researchers in a busy network for years to come."

In the end, he thinks such a network is inevitable. But if SpaceX is able to pull it in the next few years it remains to be seen.

Like everything else Musk had done lately, there would be no shortage of people watching him.

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