Connecting the Entire World to the Internet
Connecting the Entire World to the Internet
  • Reporter Ryu Nu-ri
  • 승인 2019.02.11 23:45
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Satellites connecting the entire world to the internet
Satellites connecting the entire world to the internet


Nowadays most of the people in advanced countries are used to being connected to the internet regardless of place and time. However, according to Northern Sky Research, around 470 million households and 3.5 billion people still lack access to the internet. Providing internet to these kinds of people is a huge business and quite a few companies are already making a process to the goal.
A lot of remote businesses rely on geostationary satellites, which are satellites which orbit the Earth once a day so it seems stationary seen from the ground. However, this method is expensive and the trip back and forth makes a delay of half a second to the signals. This may seem trivial but many online services cannot work properly with such signals.
To solve this problem low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet has been introduced. Since the signals have to travel less than geostationary satellites, the signals are delayed only a few milliseconds and the satellites itself can be smaller and cheaper. While LEO satellites were not so successful in the late 1990s, several companies are working on LEO satellites again with improved technology.
To understand how LEO satellites can put the entire world into internet coverage, we can think of the cellphone network. On Earth, there are hundreds of cellphone towers and phone users use the least busy one or the closest one. If the user is moving the cellphone towers are also altered. Likewise, LEO satellites are like moving cellphone towers orbiting the Earth. Each satellite covers a certain amount of area and signals are handed over to other satellites as they move out of range.
It is questionable whether the result would be cheap enough, but if it turns out to be successful the impact would go far beyond just making 3.5 billion people online. It would form the foundation of new businesses requiring high-quality internet connection everywhere.

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