Elon Musk and T-Mobile try beating Apple with satellite vaporware



  • Reply 21 of 24
    Wow that is a lot of hate in one article.

    SpaceX has launched thousands of satellites in the last two years and is already operating it's "internet from space" network all over the globe.

    People mocked them two years ago......and now here we are, internet from frickin outer space!

    SpaceX has to have a lot of things go right for any sort of working beta by the end of 2023. This service will require their Starlink 2 satellites, of which they’ve launched zero because they are much larger than their current satellites and can’t fit on their reliable Falcon 9 rocket. So SpaceX needs to have its Starship and Super Heavy booster fully operational and flying at a cadence of what F9 does now very quickly. To make economic sense, Starship has to be reusable, therefore their completely unproven ground system of catching hovering rockets out of the sky with their launch tower has to work reliably as well. How will they launch the hundreds or thousands of satellites needed for a public beta in just 16 months? I think they barely have regulatory approval to launch 5 times per year from their Texas site so they are scrambling to build a new site in Florida. Getting a rocket from prototype to reliable orbital launch ready vehicle is tough and time consuming. And testing their ground system to catch a rocket will be hairier. One wrong move and an exploding rocket will take out their tower and that will take months to analyze, clean up, and replace.

    I’m not hating. I’m just realistic. Musk’s timeline, as always, is overly optimistic. He’s also known for his vaporware products that are either several years delayed or nonexistent. Semi trucks that beat the cost of rail? Self-driving robo-taxis that make owners money? The lie of Hyperloop? Battery-swapping stations for Teslas? Cybertruck delays. $35K Model 3s? New battery tech when they’re just buying Panasonic batteries.

    So far Musk has mostly kept the vaporware out of SpaceX, but he’s blowing smoke up people’s asses about Mars colonization and this satellite phone service beta available in 16 months. They’ll be lucky if they have enough birds in the sky to do internal testing of this service by end of 2023. After all, they still have NASA contracts to fulfill in that time too.

    So it's mostly hatred of Musk that drives you?

    I bet two years ago you were saying Starlink would never happen.  Yet here I am, sending you a message over Starlink internet!

    That's not the only thing you're wrong about, the Version 2 satellites fit on Falcon 9 and that is their plan while they increase the flight cadence of the bigger Starship.
    It's not hatred to not be a fanboy who refuses to question his overlord. Just Cruisin's facts were correct -- have we semi-trucks beating rail? Nope. Self-driving robo-taxis? Nope. Cybertruck? Nope. "Full self-driving"? Nope. The 100-year-old idea but promised hyperloop? Nope. Mars colonies? Nope. On & on with more over-promises, now including androids. Sure all great ideas, but ideas are the easy part. Implementing and doing so on the timelines announced are the hard part. (Solar Tiles have been installed but they won't be transparent on how many nor how efficient they actually are over time.)

    For more details you can watch this video: 

    It's fair to levy criticism. If Apple were making all these promises and not delivering on them, they'd be crucified by the tech press.

  • Reply 22 of 24
    hucom2000 said:
    I can understand how a satellite is strong enough to send a signal down to earth that cell phones can receive. That would include receiving data. 

    But how is a cell phone able to generate enough energy for a signal all the way back to a satellite? 

    If you look at the transition from 4G to 5G and the density of antennas needed to render service, it’s a far cry to space…
    Maybe prearranged messaging? If you are a user you can prearranged to let the satellites broadcast your message down whenever it received. But this is not internet by demand. A fake messaging. Because you will not be able to reply to a message if you cannot send the reply message up to the satellite. 
  • Reply 23 of 24
    I'm guessing a lot of people didn't watch the event.

    This will use a thin slice of existing T-Mobile mid-band (PCS, 1900-2100MHz) spectrum, which they have licenses for across the entire US.  This isn't necessarily 5G, and they said "the phone you already have."  I'm guessing that they'll only need to implement the 4G/LTE spec (or a lite version of it), enough to support voice and simple data.

    According to Musk, the antennas to support this will be roughly 5-7 meters wide and tall, and there will be serious electronics involved to counteract doppler effect etc. Because cell phones transmit omnidirectionally, cell antennas on towers are already designed to be really big ears to pick up the weakest of signals.  Licensed spectrum is much quieter than Part 15 (unlicensed) bands where WiFi and baby monitors and IoT devices live.  So they wouldn't have put out the "vaporware" if they didn't believe there was technical capability. 

    There's also only so much bandwidth available (2-4Mbps) for the whole spot beam, so they're starting with the easy stuff. SMS uses the SS7 signaling network (which runs on most telco phone switches across two 56K channels). They've got oodles of bandwidth to support texting and messaging, and with store-and-forward capabilities onboard the bird, that part's pretty much figured out.

    Since T-Mobile already owns the spectrum, the biggest challenge could be regulatory issues.
    just cruisinmuthuk_vanalingamhtbduryeigoh
  • Reply 24 of 24
    ringoringo Posts: 329member
    SpaceX recently launched the first batch of Starlink satellites with the hardware for direct-to-cellphone comms. This article hasn't aged particularly well.
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