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Free WiFi for Everyone!

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NadineJ
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Platinum
skeptically optimistic
NadineJ   2/25/2014 10:23:48 AM
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This sounds great.  I live near the Internet Archive here in San Francisco.   I'm sure many internet pioneers envisioned this from the beginning.

Here in the U.S., I doubt that communications companies will allow it.  AT&T just filed a patent for the "prevention of bandwidth abuse of a communications system".  You can read more in the HuffPost article.

If one uses too much bandwidth for the "wrong kind of activity", the speed will automatically slow down.  The provider determines what's right or wrong.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
nothing is free
naperlou   2/25/2014 11:33:34 AM
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Cabe, sounds like Iridium.  Remember that?  It was (is) a worldwide, low earth ofbit (LEO) system.  It is very expensive to use.  The phones are large (compared to today's smart phones).  The cost to design and launch such a system is very large and it will be interesting to see how it all gets paid for.

The other thing, which you allude to in your article, is that these systems would cross international borders.  This might also be an issue, considering what some countries have done to control the Internet withing their borders.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: nothing is free
TJ McDermott   2/25/2014 12:48:54 PM
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The "dispersed around the globe" comment regarding low earth orbit caught my eye.  Satellites don't maintain position over one point on the globe when in LEO.  A satellite needs to be in geosynchronous orbit to do that; a much higher an costlier proposition.

Putting this large constellation in LEO seems like the possibility of orbit conflict would be much higher:

http://www.space.com/9870-iridium-cosmos-satellite-collision.html

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: skeptically optimistic
tekochip   2/25/2014 1:55:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I wonder if AT&T fought hard to kill net neutrality because cord cutters are klling their premium TV business.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: skeptically optimistic
Elizabeth M   2/26/2014 4:57:31 AM
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In some ways I think this is a great idea, especially for those who have no or limited email access due to poverty or their remote location (though I agree with folks who think it will have a hard time passing legislative barriers). On the other hand, I sometimes like the idea of being in a place without access to the Internet, as a way to "turn off and tune out" all of the constant flow of communication and information that can sometimes be a real clutter to human lives. So it's a double-edged sword for me. But an ambitious and interesting project nonetheless!

bdcst
User Rank
Platinum
Re: skeptically optimistic
bdcst   2/26/2014 9:17:42 AM
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I'm more skeptical about this grand scheme for global free WiFi.  First of all, I think the amount of traffic will quickly overload the system making thru-put very poor.  So much for emergency traffic!  Second, if we clutter up the LEO sky's with a sufficient number of these cubes to provide continuous global coverage, think about the junk in orbit issues it will exascerbate.  Third, even in LEO these access points will be listening for very weak WiFi signals.  It won't take much to jam them.

Davek3gau
User Rank
Gold
Re: skeptically optimistic
Davek3gau   2/26/2014 9:25:04 AM
Elizabeth,

" I sometimes like the idea of being in a place without access to the Internet, as a way to "turn off and tune out" all of the constant flow of communication and information that can sometimes be a real clutter to human lives."

 

Every device I know of has an OFF switch or can have a dead battery!  You just have to have the courage and intestinal fortitude to use them!! :-)

Crackle
User Rank
Silver
Comment on internet censorship
Crackle   2/26/2014 9:54:59 AM
NO RATINGS
Cabe, I was suprised to see the UK included next to North Korea and China in your list of the "bad boys" of internet censorship. I'd suggest this page for a better ranking of canditates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship#Internet.

 

HowieD231
User Rank
Silver
do the numbers..
HowieD231   2/26/2014 10:05:36 AM
I ahve read about this initiative in several sources and it's obvious the financial guys have not hired any engineers yet. Based on a rough link budget, a LEO satellite would need an EIRP of about 4,000 Watts to be heard by a typical WiFi device on earth. That's allot of power for a big satellite and nearly impossible for a small satellite. The other problem is going to be doppler shift. A satellite in LEO is travelling around 17,000 MPH so the frequency change during the pass will be significant at 2.4 GHz, I doubt standard WiFi receivers will cope well with this. Satellites in LEO orbit are only visible for about 10 minutes a pass, even occasional access will require quite a few satellites. This project is a data broadcast only scnario, so the you still need some other means to send data back into the net. This are just a few of the technical problems. Using satellites to bypass national laws will not be tolerated under international laws and treaties. The satellite operator will find his license revoked and probably fined by the issuing authority. Space is not the "wild west", there are laws and regulations that do apply even if some are voluntary. The only waythis half baked scheme has a chance of working is if the satellites transmit to specially equipped gound stations that feed traditional WiFi access points for local distribution. This whole thing looks like a way for some financial "speculaotrs" to raise lots of money off of unknowing investors in order to skim off fees and expenses.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
FREE WIFI
bobjengr   2/26/2014 5:00:23 PM
NO RATINGS
Cabe--It seems as though the barriers, both technical and legal, are significant but I certainly do think the system would be marvelous if brought to fruition.  I feel confident that with the advent of the Internet and social media we have a world in which countries are no longer satisfied with governmental status quo.  I think the Arab Spring proves that point.  Is there any feel for the cost of this effort?  Has to be millions if not billions.  Excellent post.

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