Seminar: Connecting the Other 3 Billion with Steve Blumenthal

January 16, 2009 on 9:46 am | In Events |

Wednesday, January 21, 20092:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m, Holmes Hall 389

Today, of the 6 billion or so people in the world about half have some access to communications via telephone, mobile phone or Internet.  O3b Networks is building and launching a new medium earth orbit (MEO) Ka band satellite network to provide high speed Internet connectivity to the developing world.  The first set of 8 satellites are under contract with Thales Alenia Space in France and due to be launched in the fall of 2010. The MEO orbit presents some advantages and technical challenges.  At 8000 km, the round trip time (RTT) for signals is on the order of 120 msec., about 1/5th the RTT for geosynchronous orbit satellites, and slightly higher than fiber optic networks.  The O3b Network will adapt to rain fade events by changing modulation and coding rates.  In addition, it supports quality of service (QoS) and multicast delivery.  However, the moving satellites have to carry tracking antennas and be tracked as they move across the sky from ground terminals.  A mechanism is required to handoff the signal from one satellite to the next.  O3b is planning to build 8 gateway sites around the globe to connect up to the fiber Internet. One of these gateways will be in Hawaii to serve the Pacific Island region. 

O3b’s satellite network represents a very unique underlying technology upon which to build a research testbed.  It can be used to extend connectivity to other networking researchers in the Pacific and can be tied into the NSF Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) project.   

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