I think the term "crackpots" used in this context ...
... is a trifle on the lenient side.
5G IoT operator OQ Technology has inked a deal with satellite firm NanoAvionics to build what OQ boss Omar Qaise described as a "flying cell tower in orbit." Assuming that cell tower had a volume of 30cm x 20cm x 10cm and weighed 6kg. The 6U satellite is the second mission for NanoAvionics with OQ Technology and will be the …
I've never been to Swindon but when I lived in Wycombe there were an inordinate number of roundabouts on any route to anywhere. It also has a five lane two way roundabout with mini-roundabouts - I believe on the same principle as the Swindon Magic Roundabout which worked very well. I think the principle could be usefully applied to the big roundabout at J24 of the M62.
Reminds me of Douglas Adams description of how to get out of Cambridge...
“He had extracted himself from the Cambridge one-way system by the usual method, which involved going round and round it faster and faster until he achieved a sort of escape velocity and flew off at a tangent in a random direction, which he was now trying to identify and correct for.”
From Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
Footpath intrusion is a serious issue in many places, particularly for people in wheelchairs, or using rollators or other walking aids.
There is no excuse for encroaching on the limited space available for people to walk around - they wouldn't put a pole of any sort even 12" into the carriageway of the nearest road, so why do they insist on putting things in the middle of the path?
Protesting that the mast is being put in an unsuitable location is a bit different from protesting against 5G per se.
have been suggesting that perhaps the things could go on roundabouts
Given that some drivers take "go straight over the roundabout" literially, I personally wouldn't put any kit in the middle of a roundabout.
This also ignores that you'd have to dig the road up to put the cables in. Much more sensible to one side of a road, behind a set of crash barriers.
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> Just what we needed - and IoT constellation in orbit.
Well, "constellations in orbit" is the newest fad making investors all giddy...
I personally am waiting for the "Pizza satellites constellation in orbit", where to order the satellite spits out a raw pizza which gets baked during reentry. Rock solid business case, nothing can go wrong, and think of all those poor people in the boonies who don't have any pizza parlor nearby! It's a humanitarian project, I tell you!
The article doesn't make clear what low frequencies and high frequencies OQ are considering.
If the devices they are linking to are using standard tech, I don't see how the signals are going manage five or six hundred kilometers each way when an average range for most 5G devices is about a thousand feet.
The click-through link says mid-band sub-6, so it should be OK on attenuation. My question is how a pocket slab and a shoebox 600 km away, both moving, can focus their antennas well enough to have any kind of S/N ratio. I'd imagine there are dead zones where you're too far from a city to have cell service yet too close to the city for the satellite to hear your phone above the din of a hundred thousand other cellphones and towers.
It would be interesting if El Reg did some research/analysis of the peak sustained data for each of the key manufacturers, that we can really expect to be sent/received from a 'stress tested' 5G Radio mast (and a 4G one for that matter) at set distances, or a mix of devices within reach of the transmitter/mast, some within buildings, some blocked by foliage, some blocked by metallic glass (higher microwave frequencies).
I for one, would love to see the technical modelling by the networks for a transmitter/mast that sits overlooking say, the hillside of a rural village (a simpler scenario), showing the real world backhaul capability of such masts, and what each mast is capable of handling in terms of sustained data rates to/from the transmitter, plus the number of concurrent device, utilising the mast at, or near capacity of the transmitter, i.e. stress tested, and what happens when a town holds a musical festival, and how this transmitter then falls flat on its face.
The Government/Ofcom and Openreach again, seem 'in cahoots', to selling the idea that 5G as a replacement for FTTP, to the hard to reach disenfranchised, and it really isn't if those households start using large amounts of sustained data, concurrently. We're already seeing the next generation accustomed to watching multiple devices at once, right now.
When will the Government learn?
If you ask BT/Openreach (or any company with a dominant market position) for a technical solution, it's hardly likely to be a technical solution that isn't biased to what they want it biased towards.
10 Years on, we're doing exactly the same, listening to BT's own technical solution, back then they offered FTTC, because it sweated BT's mostly copper assets for another 10 years. Pointless G.fast was then marketed as the solution, to delay FTTP rollout again. All of it with hindsight, shown to be smoke and mirrors, loosely defined as 'Superfast Broadband', but fundamentally based on sweating copper assets owned by BT.
It's a fallacy to expect a technical solution back from said company, that isn't based on their own internal roadmap of the companies in their portfolio. i.e. EE/Openreach and dare I say it, BT Retail. In the case of BT. How BT intend to keep EE/Openreach tiered data rates competitively positioned against each other, that could be argued, is at the detriment to the UK as a whole.
The Competition and Mergers authority (stupidly, though more likely deliberately for other overarching security reasons) concluded that BT and EE didn't compete in the same markets, allowing the merger to take place and this has been proven to be wholly wrong by the way BT market both EE and BT Retail. 'Quad play services'.
Here, BT's whole forward-looking strategy seems to play to Ofcom's 'technology agnostic' definition of Broadband, utilising 5G mobile technologies, for FTTP, in difficult to reach, circumstances.
Yet 5G as a replacement for FTTP in hard to reach areas will come to be seen as sub par, in many of these scenarios. And still, as a country, we steam ahead with this policy. Ofcom know this, BT know this, yet we're making the same mistakes again.
It's an important point. Ofcom surround this information in cloak and daggers, there is no technical-defined standard for a 4G/5G transmitter (mast) in terms of its backhaul capability, in the process of installing a new/upgraded mast. Ofcom don't regulate this aspect of the transmission path. The backhaul can be a piece of wet string for all Ofcom care (and that seems to be a clear breakdown in the regulatory framework, as is the fact Ofcom don't regulate or pay compensation when an FTTC cabinet is at capacity, having no free ports, this too is surrounded in cloak and daggers, something Openreach/Ofcom don't want people to know about).
Consumers know no different, because the 4G/5G denoted on your device, denotes the specification for the connection between the device and the mast, not a mast's backhaul, i.e. the sustained data rate the mast is capable of receiving/transmitter from the mast onwards from the mast and the total number of devices it can handle at once, what you'd class, as a standard for the mast if there was such a definition defined by Ofcom.
There seems to be an editorial decision with anything regarding 3G/4G/5G to somehow pretend it's all just some ubiquitous blanket coverage that sits above us in the blue sky (overlapping cells) that mobile device connect to. The backhaul fibre/microwave, how your mobile is just connecting to a nearby mast, how that data is then sent onwards is rarely talked about in terms of its technical capacity, and to some (most) people that's clearly how they think of it, because the backhaul, (in general either fibre optic or a microwave dish to a receiving station, to fibre optic) never gets mentioned.
It's worth stating again, I keep doing it, without ubiquitous fibre in the ground, you'll never have sustained data over 5G. 5G is wholly reliant on fibre in the ground and people, even non-technical ones, should be aware of that. Ofcom don't communicate this because they're too busy protecting their own image.
People should really examine Ofcom's role in detail, because it's spread so thinly and widely (now covering media complaints), its pretty pointless chocolate pot organisation in terms of the key practical aspects of how a mobile network are implemented aka. How 5G transmitters performs in the real world, it's pretty much on a wing and prayer, defined by the companies themselves.
When will the Government learn?
They're the government. They're not there to learn, they're there to govern, and years of experience have shown that learning is unnecessary to governing(*).
(*) Except in the view of the governed, and they don't count.
"They're the government. They're not there to learn, they're there to govern, and years of experience have shown that learning is unnecessary to governing(*)."
Her Majesties Loyal Opposition are constantly harping on at the Government to "learn lessons". They've been doing it for centuries!
The plan is to provide basic commercial IoT and Machine to Machine (M2M) services ...
Sounds like a perfectly dreadful idea. Maybe it's OK for medical devices, POS terminals, and such in places with lousy/non-existent infrastructure. But I'm quite certain that I do not want my electric toothbrush calling home -- whether by landline, cell phone or satellite relay.
(...and how do they plan to get by without a fairly elaborate steerable antenna?)
>...and how do they plan to get by without a fairly elaborate steerable antenna?
If you want to maintain an hour long video call you need either a steerable dish or a lot of satellites and a complex TDRS system.
If you want to send a few byte message giving the status of your pipeline monitor, dam level, railway track, river level etc then sending a 1ms burst when the satellite is overhead is fine.
I am predicting that, should this become available, the price of the equipment necessary to transmit to it and the usage charges will make it impractical for most use cases, and that power requirements will eliminate most of the remaining ones. Most of the similar systems I have seen are very expensive and charged per device. A small place with a few devices will probably reject it because the base price is exorbitant, whereas a large place with many sensors would not use it because it requires purchasing thousands of connections, one per sensor. In order for this to be useful, they will have to do something to improve the cost and power usage over things like LoRa to a central station which relays it through a different mechanism.
Qaise cited hardware such as sensors or tracking devices that require only short messages. "So instead of having millions of users with large amounts of data, you have billions of devices with small amounts of data."
I believe the existing satellite constellations of Iridium, Eutelsat & Inmarsat already dominate this segment of the market. Seems rather silly to act as though a "cell tower in space" is something novel.
"we use the same existing mobile and cellular devices to connect to the satellite directly. The satellite acts as a flying cell tower in orbit."
It won't be exactly the same equipment, though. Either they'll need to be allowed to increase the power output an order of magnitude, or else the 5G antenna inside your mobile will have to be enlarged and changed into a shape with a more than a passing resemblance to a Sky TV dish.