For his next trick, the man who shot a car to Mars will bring satellite video conferencing to every desert, jungle, and frozen world of hell.
Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have made headlines worldwide after successfully launching the Falcon Heavy rocket and putting their cargo, Musk's Tesla, on course for Mars. Two weeks later, and to a much lesser extent, SpaceX successfully put another project into orbit, one that will have a more immediate and tangible impact on Earth.
The second launch was mainly a commercial one that put a Spanish satellite into orbit. But it also started the first two parts of what will eventually become a space-based internet network that will allow every rural town and village on the planet to go online.
With this connectivity comes the potential for anyone in reach of a smartphone to have a personal video conference with anyone, anywhere.
Starlink and Satellite Video Conferencing
The first two parts of the second mission were microsatellite testing . They will lay the foundation for a network of nearly 1
Starlink certainly has a strong promise. SpaceX has said that once the system 2022 is up and running, it will provide a bandwidth of 1 Gbps. That's tens of times faster than the current average broadband connection in the US which is what Alphabet has predicted for his ground-based Google Fiber Network . Achieving such speeds via satellite would be a major upgrade from the current leader in the space-based Internet, HughesNet, which is again much slower than Starlink at 25 Mbps.
The real attraction of SpaceX's vision, however, lies in two other key elements
Low Latency Video Telephony Without On-Ground Infrastructure
The problem with all things in space is the large distance between objects. A satellite transmitting an Internet signal from Earth to Earth and back to Earth is so far away that the message is delayed. It's the reason for the delay that you sometimes see on satellite television interviews.
In videoconferencing terms, this is a killer that causes audio and visual pauses that can ruin a conversation. This latency effect is the reason that musicians can not normally play together on a video call – the sound of one end arrives too late at the other end to sync it.
The scope of the Starlink network – it consists of twice as many satellites as ever launched – sends a signal 24 times faster than current satellite standards and reduces latency to 25 millionths of a second. In comparison, terrestrial networks have a latency of up to 20 milliseconds.
These speeds would make satellite connections a viable option for even high data loads like video conferencing. This in turn means that people in resource-poor countries can access the Internet without having to install expensive infrastructure such as underground cables and towering antennas.
You do not even need the specialized satellite receivers that are currently used in remote areas. Your smartphone is already in constant contact with the satellites flying overhead … and there are many smartphones around.
Satellite Internet for Every Village
India is undergoing a comprehensive infrastructure program to modernize and realize its Internet coverage available to rural and remote populations. If SpaceX's Starlink system succeeds, this work may become obsolete. India's huge population has made it the second largest smartphone market in the world. Through the plan of Elon Musk these people have potentially enough satellite Internet power to a video call with a satellite <img class = "align right" src = "https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/J8aGvnJ51w3HtA6UNz5Jtsaf6Z3WEPx-Z2krqadGDVFpwyJparGdPY_1iZGWOCYgeT778J6KhvW-L2E5eWIu0G2lVFh_97mEZVgMLXxteYc2fxPH2hd26OUb2FhmwfL_n_IHitqk "alt =" to do with anyone who uses only their phone.
And – at least in our opinion here at VC Daily – that's a tremendous power to own., It means that you have access to Have a personal meeting with a doctor, solicitor, customer, business associate, friend, or family member wherever you go Through this kind of connectivity and empowerment, the initial dreams of a democratic Internet were built.
It turns anyone into a citizen journalist with a phone who can speak to the press from a decimated area or the most desolate refugee camp rural health options that are currently facing long trips to medical experts – something that embrace more and more areas of our country . It means bringing high-quality communications to areas of the planet that are considered too difficult to connect to ground-based Internet cables. It means connecting people in Third World countries with the rest of the digital society in the world and letting them speak in person.
Maybe those are great visions, but how do you react when a man sends his own car to Mars? says he will cover the world in high-speed Internet from space
Image sources: Flickr CC users Marlordo59 and Official SpaceX photos