Get Your Wireless Broadband By Stratellite

from the your-internet-floating-overhead dept

There have been various attempts at offering both satellite internet feeds and fixed wirelss feeds, both of which have met with varying degrees of failure. While some have survived, none have really caught on the way the companies provided them hoped they would. Now, some companies are getting ready to combine those two ideas to try to create wireless broadband internet connections that really work. The idea is to put floating platforms up in the sky. They won't be out in space, though, they'll be up pretty damn high, so they're considered "stratellites" instead of satellites. Backers say this creates the best of both worlds, since it gets much wider coverage, while still providing fast connections. They say it can be used for any type of wireless application from basic internet access to a better system for providing 3G mobile phone service. They even plan to offer WiFi connections to consumers, which could put a damper on Cometa's hotspot plans. I still wonder, though, about the latency issue, which is the biggest complaint when it comes to satellite internet services. There's also a big question about cost. As Iridium showed, launching things into space (or near space, at least) can be a bit costly if you can't find a business model to support things.
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  1. identicon
    dorpus, 24 Dec 2002 @ 3:37am

    I used to work for Iridium

    Stratellites make far more sense in many ways:

    1. Far cheaper to launch, maintain, and upgrade than satellites

    2. Don't need a huge ugly brick antenna, since stratellites are an order of magnitude closer.

    3. Latency won't be as bad, due to closer distances. Just interface with existing land lines for out-of-area calls.

    Yeah, Iridium. People there said that Motorola didn't plan to make money on it; it was their way of getting into the satellite business. They were going to launch an "Iridium II." Iridium's 2,400 baud, $5/min connection, anyone?

    Back then, Motorola was obsessed with "six-sigma" engineering and "metrics". No leadership, no common sense. The project started in Arizona, where they made the satellites and everything, and it should have stayed there. But Motorola wanted to curry favor with the government so they opened the MCF facility in Leesburg, VA. The (mostly) Texans who worked for Iridium hated living in Virginia. They spent millions on making this physically secure facility, where even the bathroom required a 4-digit code to be punched in. The doors had no windows so people would get smacked often. They made a big deal about "tailgating" -- you weren't supposed to follow someone else in. But then, there were only 4 unix accounts for the whole facility, and everyone knew all the passwords. They had a $10 million triply redundant electrical system, but it would have been easy for rats to chew the wire and blow it to hell anyway. And the wonder of technology called Sun workstations that had to be rebooted every time the keyboards got unplugged, which was a daily occurrence due to the shape of the console desks.

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