back to article Not keen on a 5G mast in your street? At least it'd be harder for crackpots to burn down 'a flying cell tower in orbit'

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 …

  1. jake Silver badge

    I think the term "crackpots" used in this context ...

    ... is a trifle on the lenient side.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think the term "crackpots" used in this context ...

      Don't blame them. They're being controlled by the chip Bill Gates put in their COVID vaccine.

  2. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Interestingly the 5G protestors in this area are complaining about footpath intrusion rather than anything else and have been suggesting that perhaps the things could go on roundabouts

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "perhaps the things could go on roundabouts"

      That would be coverage in High Wycombe well-sorted.

      1. KarMann Silver badge

        Just imagine the mast they could put up in Swindon.

        its audio equivalent ——>

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Isn't Wycombe als the place with an astonishing maze of one way streets or am I confusing things (entirely possible)?

            Haven't been in the UK for a while (damn Covid), but I vaguely recall a place which was a roads-based Hotel California in its layout. Took me ages to find the way out :).

            1. jake Silver badge

              That would be pretty much any town that evolved for centuries (or millennia) without the automobile, and then suddenly had to come up with a plan to accommodate them a hundred or so years ago.

            2. cshore

              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.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Hemel Hempstead has also got one of those devilish magic roundabout systems. I don' know why it's always the Swindon one that gets the attention.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Probably because ...

              ... their auto correct changes the Hemel to Hamel (a small village in France) and their editors get leary of the hemp in Hempstead and so suggest an alternative replace it.

              Note that it's only a typoe if it's unintentional.

          3. Peter2 Silver badge

            Swindon? That's nothing, drive by Milton Keynes at some point.

            It reminds me of a road building game where the designer had only figured out how to use the roundabout and not any form of sliproads etc.

            1. Dr_N

              Peter> Swindon? That's nothing,

              Harsh analysis. But fair.

        2. jake Silver badge

          OOOOOHHHHHH! Tesla would have loved that!

          Public Service Announcement: Beware of incoming cranks.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      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.

    3. Peter2 Silver badge

      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.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Nursing A Semi

    How big?

    Does your smart kettle need to be to push a signal to a receiver 600KM away?

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just what we needed - and IoT constellation in orbit.

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Going by the current record, half the satellites will be hacked within 3 months of launch, one third will be obsolete and thus unresponsive before they even get to orbit, and the rest will be knocked offline every time someone farts in the general direction of a AWS cluster.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      > 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!

  6. Chris G

    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.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      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.

  7. Spanners Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Not keen on a 5G mast in your street?"

    Very keen indeed thank you. Also keen on having 5G where I work and where I spend my own time.

    Someone needs to found a movement to protest against the stupids and the NIMBYs.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: "Not keen on a 5G mast in your street?"

      What I presume to be 5G cells have appeared round this way and they look seriously good. Sci-Fi spaces ships. Like Space 1999 or something.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Reg, do some analysis of sustained real world data rates/modelling scenarios.

    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 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.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: El Reg, do some analysis of sustained real world data rates/modelling scenarios.

      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.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: El Reg, do some analysis of sustained real world data rates/modelling scenarios.

        "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!

  9. Ken G Silver badge

    5G IoT

    Can it quantum AI my blockchain as a service?

    1. grumbler

      Re: 5G IoT

      Yes, but only as an NFT.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: 5G IoT

      Careful what you ask for. If they get wind of it, your bank, motor vehicle department and insurance will all demand it immediately, if not sooner. And no car loan until you produce it!

  10. vtcodger Silver badge

    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?)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >...and how do they plan to get by without a fairly elaborate steerable antenna?

      Short messages.

      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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I made sure I got each vaccine dose in a different arm so my 5G signal strength is balanced. I have full bars at all times. ;-)

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      My GF had a similar problem, but hers is full bras at all times.

      Thanks, I'll just get it =>

  12. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

    I bought a 5G phone recently and I haven't caught covid.

    I have therefore deduced that the microchip in the vaccine prevents somehow covid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's all fine and well, but you don't know who gets custody of those chips now Bill and Melinda are divorcing.

      That said, I'm not worried. Remember Zune?


  13. s. pam Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Great more crap

    Flying in near-Earth orbit that creates trails across the sky at night thereby obscuring amateur astronomy. Just what we need...NOT!

  14. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Crackpots or Teapots

    Flying Teapots in orbit - Radio Gnome 5G Invisible

  15. doublelayer Silver badge

    I wonder how much this will be

    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.

  16. rcxb Silver badge

    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.

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