OneWeb Satellite Constellation GivesEveryone The Chance To Access The InternetMost of us probably couldn’t imaginea life without the internet.
Not only is it a vast ocean of information, butalso essential for the ieconomic growth, education and healthcare of a nation. However, ii53%of the world is still unconnected, missing out on its great advantages and laggingbehind the rest of the world. A company known as OneWeb, working alongsidetechnological giants such as Virgin and Airbus are building a satellite constellationthat will allow internet access to every place on Earth.
1″To fully bridge the DigitalDivide by 2027, making Internet access available and affordable for everyone”,is Greg Wyler’s, founder of OneWeb, goal by launching 900 satellites, providingfull coverage of the entire planet.Normally, we go to an InternetService Provider (ISP), such as BT or Sky, who offer their services to connectour home or company to the internet. These ISPs usually have several centralaccess points, known as a iiidatacentres, containing many server computer systems that store, process anddistribute data to customers. Currently, data reaches us by a network of cablesconnecting data centres to local access points. These cables are normally fibreoptic, which uses light to carry the information at very high speeds, and arelaid underground.
Our homes are usually connected to these points using ivthesame copper cables that carry our phone lines. This is cheaper than laying morefibre optic cables, but is not as fast at transferring data.However, building these largeinfrastructures can be very difficult in rural areas due to the geographicenvironment such as mountain ranges and rivers. Also, most of the connectionsare made through cables running underground, meaning natural disasters, such asearthquakes and hurricanes, can lead to mass communication failures.Furthermore, building these networks require very technical knowledge andplanning; something countries in the developing world are struggling with. vA”2012 survey of 12 countries” in Africa showed that only 5.4% of households hadworking internet connection.Looking up into the sky, thesolution to these problems can be found through satellite broadband.
Satellitesare unaffected by natural disasters and can reach any point on the globe in itsfield of view. When information is transmitted to and from a satellite, it isfirst converted from a digital signal (binary numbers) into an analogue signal(sinusoidal waveform). This is then placed onto a carrier signal before beingtransmitted.
You can think of the carrier as being a train transportingpassengers, the data signal, to its destination. This technology does exist suchas viEutelsat’s,a leading satellite operator, KA-SAT satellite with 82 beams transmitting broadbandto earth. It was launched into a geostationary orbit, meaning it is always inthe same place in the sky. Therefore, it can only provide internet for a fixedarea which Eutelsat managed to extend by launching vii33more satellites, increasing the coverage to Europe and North Africa. However, ifone of these satellites were to go down, then a whole region will be leftwithout internet since the others are not in range. One of the biggestchallenges is the speed of data transfer.
Since these satellites are viii35790kmabove the earth’s surface, it takes a significant amount of time for the informationto move, causing consumers to experience slow internet.ixFigure:Configuration of 900 OneWeb satellites in 18 polar orbital plans at 1100 kmaltitude to provide complete coverage of the planet.OneWeb’s project takes adifferent direction by having many more satellites creating a blanket aroundthe entire planet. Airbus, the company in charge of producing the satellites,say that x”each satellite will weigh less than150 kg” which is a substantial difference to the 2.2 tonne KA-SAT.
Airbus hasto simplify designs to create smaller and less material consuming satellites toallow mass production capabilities. Using lower grade materials also cuts downon cost, meaning internet access can be more affordable to developingcountries. They are also placed in xi polarorbits, meaning they rotate between the two poles. This provides two benefitsover Eutelsat’s system: firstly, if one of the satellites fails there willstill be another satellite that will soon be in the position of themalfunctioned one.
This means that the customers in that region are notpermanently disconnected. Secondly, the satellites are in a lower orbit at only1100km, 32.5 times lower than the KA-SAT, so the time taken for data to reach thesurface is much smaller, allowing faster internet speedsThe future of this project restson the test mission next year where 10ten satellites will belaunched into space. Internet speed and how the lightweight satellites copewith space environment will be key factors to analyse. Possible changes to thedesign may be required to extend longevity of the system, but Airbus will beginmass producing satellites with estimates of xii15per week and slowly connect the world together piece by piece.
With its full world coverage andfaster internet speeds than competing solutions, the OneWeb constellation seemslike the best approach to providing satellite broadband to areas whereconventional network infrastructures cannot reach. Schools, hospitals, andbanks are only a few examples that OneWeb’s project will have a profound effecton the developing world. Hopefully, this will aid in creating a more united andcollaborative world.i GregWyler, We All Need Accessletter, Date of publication – 19/12/2016, cited- 27/11/2017, Available from: http://www.oneweb.
world/ii UNNews Centre, Nearly 47 per cent of global population now online – UN report report,Date of publication – 2016, cited – 27/11/2017, Available from: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54931iiiSAP Data Center, How a Data Center Works internet, Date of publication –2016, cited – 27/11/2017, Availablefrom: http://www.sapdatacenter.com/article/data_center_functionality/#!iv NTCHosting, Internet Service Provider (ISP) internet, Date of publication –2015, cited – 27/11/2017, Availablefrom: https://www.ntchosting.
com/encyclopedia/internet/isp/ vDeen-Swarray, Toward digital inclusion: Understanding the literacy effect onadoption and use of mobile phones and the Internet in Africa. InformationTechnologies & International Development Research Article, Date ofpublication – Summer 2016. Available from: http://dev.itidjournal.org/index.php/itid/article/view/1504/545viH.
Fenech, S Amos, A Tomatis, V Soumpholphakdy, High Throughput SatelliteSystems: An Analytical Approach journal, Date of publication – January 2015,Available from: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AEROSPACE AND ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS VOL. 51,NO. 1viiEutelsat, EUTELSAT 115 WEST B, WORLD FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC SATELLITE, BEGINSASCENT TO GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT Press Release, Date of publication – 12/3/2015, cited – 27/11/2017, Available from: http://news.
eutelsat.com/pressreleases/eutelsat-115-west-b-world-first-all-electric-satellite-begins-ascent-to-geostationary-orbit-1129357viiiIan Poole, Geostationary Satellite Orbit, GEO internet, cited – 27/11/2017,Available from: http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/satellite/satellite-orbits/geostationary-earth-orbit.phpixAIRBUS, Airbus Defence and Space Selected to Partner in Production of OneWebSatellite Constellation Figure, Date of publication – 15/6/2015, cited -27/11/2017, Available from: https://airbusdefenceandspace.com/newsroom/news-and-features/airbus-defence-and-space-selected-to-partner-in-production-of-oneweb-satellite-constellation/?utm_source=rss=rss x Mumford,Richard, Airbus Defence and Space and OneWeb Create OneWeb Satellitesjournal, Date of publication – March 2016, Available from: Microwave Journal;Mar 2016; Vol.
59 (3)xiAIRBUS, Airbus Defence and Space Selected to Partner in Production of OneWebSatellite Constellation Press Release, Date of publication – 15/6/2015, cited- 27/11/2017, Available from: https://airbusdefenceandspace.com/newsroom/news-and-features/airbus-defence-and-space-selected-to-partner-in-production-of-oneweb-satellite-constellation/?utm_source=rss=rss xii QualcommInc, OneWeb inks deal to bring satellite internet to earth article, Date ofpublication – 10/11/2017, cited – 27/11/2017, Available from: https://search.proquest.com/docview/1962562119?accountid=14511