back to article Samsung says micro-sats could blanket the world with Internet

Samsung has joined the likes of Google, Facebook, SpaceX and O3B with a proposal to bring the Internet to those who don't yet have it. While it's not an official Samsung policy document, the proposal is under the signature of Farooq Khan, who is president of Samsung R&D in Texas. In his paper at ArXiv, Khan proposes low-cost …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    If everyone who's looking into this area launches the 5000 they think they need, what kind of problem will this create for say... launches to the moon? Or any geo-stationary orbit? And then there's the matter of cleaning up the ones that go dead. It just doesn't seem like a great idea....

    1. Ole Juul


      I think there's actually a lot of spaaaaaace, but you're right, with Musk's proposed Ku-band satellites in 625 Km high orbits it could start to look like a locust swarm to those who want to go straight through. Presumably they'll all be going the same way around and staying to the right . . . eh, I mean left . . . do they actually have any traffic rules for space yet? Can you get a ticket?

    2. Extra spicey vindaloo

      All satelites need to be able to de-orbit or escape to parking orbit at end of life. Either way it still seems like a silly idea, especially as they are just replacing the cables laid under the sea.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      More stuff in LEO, great idea.

      Kessler syndrome:

      "A scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade—each collision generating space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions"

      1. Grikath

        Re: More stuff in LEO, great idea.

        Hmyeah... imagine a fair number of string-of-pearls orbits , which, the Earth being a globe and all, would all be intersecting at various points if you want to guarantee coverage.

        Something tells me this would go wrong sooner than later.

  2. Mikel

    Radio is so 20th century

    They want lasers

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Radio is so 20th century

      Actually, you'd think what they want is masers (substitute light for microwave). Thing is, tight-beam communications on mobile bases suffer a huge drawback: the need for steering.

  3. getHandle

    Samsung satellites?

    And you thought it was hard to get an update for your Samsung mobile??

  4. Blank-Reg

    Oh for fucks sake. Just what we need, the modern day Westford Needles

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Antenna gain

    You don't get anything for free, if you have a given power flux density at the Earth (you know, a fixed transmitter power and coverage area) then going up in frequency achieves nothing - the increase in directivity gain for a fixed effective aperture is NOT producing an increase in power, and going to a smaller antenna for a fixed 'gain' is not helping - in fact it is counter-productive. The reason why "free space loss" in link budgets includes wavelength instead of simply being inverse-square is specifically to reconcile the relationship between an antenna's effective area and directivity gain.

    The only benefit you get in that scenario from higher frequency use is the directivity gain allows you to separate sources (.e.g. satellites) that are close together. But you pay for it by having to steer the beam very accurately (mechanical or phased array). Also rain losses are massive at W-band so for some users in some areas they won't be seeing better then 95%-ish connectivity.

    It makes some sense for users in really sparse areas, but not for high density cities, etc, where putting in some fibre and a few mobile base stations operating at frequencies that penetrate building is going to work much better. The real question (beyond pollution of space when those reach end of life and can't be de-orbited from 2000km altitude for millennia) is the economics of doing so for a large number of very poor users. Yes, I feel they should benefit, but I do wonder if the companies behind this can make money. Iridium went bust because the advent GSM, etc, stole its most profitable user base in the big cities and densely populated areas of wealthy countries.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Antenna gain

      "It makes some sense for users in really sparse areas, but not for high density cities, etc, where putting in some fibre and a few mobile base stations operating at frequencies that penetrate building is going to work much better."

      But what about a place like New York, which is already so built up that trying to add anything else, even fiber, is a project instead of an operation due to having to dig around so much (still-operational) crap AND is a concrete jungle so dense that trying to get even 700Mhz waves through is a crapshoot?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Antenna gain

        I guess you didn't read the part where users wouldn't be connecting directly to the satellites, they'd be the backhaul and users would connect in via other methods (presumably cellular)

  6. Timbo

    Surely not....

    There was a recent BBC tv programme about the issues of dead satellites in orbit around Earth and what happens over time as they collide with each other, generating a huge debris field. (Since two recent incidents, the debris field has increased dramatically, with China firing a missile at one of its satellites and two other satellites colliding with each other).

    It seems Samsung just want to build a new range of products that might help its income stream but will further worsen the problem, esp when these things run out of power and cannot be de-orbited.

    Surely, it makes more sense to just have a limited number of BIG satellites, made by a group of companies, that will cover a wide area and then be done with it.

    1. Richard_L

      Re: Surely not....

      Yes, that was another excruciatingly slow episode of Horizon, the BBC's flagship science program which strives to turn learning about really great science into a miserable, frustrating experience by taking 20 minutes worth of interesting content and stretching it torturously over a whole hour, with facts teased out as slowly as the gratuitous footage of super-slow-motion explosions that accompany the many awkward silences between the slow, patronisingly spoken sentences from the narrator.

      It's available for another 22 days on iPlayer, although if you've read the comments above, you've already digested a the majority of its content:

  7. James 100

    Wrong market?

    For backhaul from base stations, surely there are very few locations where satellite is the best option: either fibre, or a microwave link to another base station with a fibre connection. For filling in coverage blackspots directly, though, it would be great: just have handsets "roam" onto this constellation as a fallback, as Thuraya handsets do now. Putting this lot in orbit, only to have handsets still reliant on a piece of fixed infrastructure to get a connection anyway, though?!

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