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4G network proposes convergence of satellite and terrestrial technologies

24 апреля 2009

Satellite communications networks have a long established reputation of being able to successfully deliver connectivity to the most remote regions of the planet.  They’ve proven themselves as being a reliable and cost effective means of delivering multimedia content to a broad consumer market.  They’re also an invaluable infrastructure for defense Command, Control and Communication systems.

Unless you’ve got a critical Enterprise role or are in an exploration or operation on the high seas or in some far flung remote location, it’s unlikely that you’re a user of a satellite mobile service, like Iridium or Globalstar, today. Beginning in June of this year, TerreStar Networks will launch an all-IP satellite and terrestrial mobile network that will seek to change that, at least if you’re a North American user. TerreStar will deliver you their service through the TerreStar-1 mobile services satellite which they anticipate will provide a signal quality in the coverage footprint that will surpass existing satellite service offerings.

So what makes TerreStar different than current mobile satellite service offerings like Iridium? The most obvious difference between TerreStar and Iridium is that TerreStar will initially offer service only in the
United States and Canada. Iridium on the other hand offers service almost anywhere on the globe. Another primary difference is that TerreStar will be using a geostationary satellite employing ground-based beam forming technology, a critical element in the system to deliver speed and performance to handheld devices with small, even internal, antennas. In the case of Iridium, a constellation of LEO (low earth orbiting) satellites are used to provide global, but much lower speed and signal strength, coverage.

At 2009 International CES, TerreStar, along with partners Elektrobit Corporation and Comneon, announced that they had successfully demonstrated VoIP over a simulated satellite connection using a multimode satellite-terrestrial handheld device. EB showed the device at CTIA Wireless 2009; a surprisingly slim PDA form factor that includes a QWERTY keypad, an internal satellite antenna and GPS. It sports satellite, quad-band GSM, tri-band WCDMA/HSPA connectivity along with Bluetooth and WiFi and will initially ship with Window Mobile 6.5 at a price point of about $800 USD. EB’s SVP of Wireless Solutions, Ari Virtanen explained that the design philosophy for such a MID is to “bring to the user’s pocket the full internet experience.” In addition to the PDA EB displayed a proof of concept design for a M2M form factor device as well.

TerreStar says they will offer voice, data and video services for the government, public safety, enterprise and rural community markets.


By Andrew Mitchell

Источник: 4G Trends

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