The development of communications continues every day. Surely you have heard about the Starlink satellite Internet from Ilon Musk and wondered how it differs from conventional cellular communications. Except for the fact that it is associated with Ilon Musk, it is becoming mega-popular and is of interest to everyone. His project is called almost the killer of cellular communication - oh, how many "killers" of everything have been! But is satellite communication so good? Does it have any special features? In general, it is very interesting to understand how the usual mobile communications differ from satellite communications.
Satellite communication is a type of communication carried out between Earth stations, and artificial satellites of the Earth are used for retransmission. The topic began to be actively developed back in 1945 by Arthur C. Clarke, who proposed a system of satellites that would help create a global communications system.
Artificial satellites can be non-regenerative (they receive a signal from one station on Earth, translate it to another frequency, amplify it and broadcast it to another Earth station) and regenerative (they modulate the signal anew, correcting errors during transmission, but with an increased signal delay). The area of visibility that is capable of transmitting the signal from the satellites to the ground for quality reception is called the coverage area. Starlink, for example, now has more than 1,700 satellites in orbit.
Cellular operators are covering more and more new territories. But due to the peculiarities of the relief it is impossible to install base stations in remote areas: firstly, they are difficult to install, secondly, just as difficult to maintain, and thirdly, they will not bring any profit to the companies. In such cases, satellite communication is very helpful - the signal from the ground goes to the satellite, and the satellite gives it back to its destination.
This kind of connection is good for a person who travels a lot - the phone will not let you stay out of touch. The only disadvantage - satellite communication is very expensive, but in some countries the subscription fee is not much different from the cost of mobile communication. The same Starlink costs the first users $99 subscription fee and almost $500 have to pay for the equipment.
For stationary use will have to suffer with the installation of equipment: the diameter of the satellite dish is very large, to this is added another receiver and a string of wires. In general, a router will be easier to install than this option. In addition, satellite phones are still bulky - alas, no one has done anything about it, but all hope for the newfangled Starlink. Let's hope that Ilon Musk has some plan to make satellite phones the size we are used to.
Satellite Internet is a great alternative to cell phones, but in rural or hard-to-reach areas. There is hope that one day this type of communication will supplant cellular, but it will not happen soon.
If we can say that the usual cellular communication does not leave a carbon footprint and does not harm the environment, the satellite Internet is designed differently - sooner or later the life of the satellite comes to an end, it will be turned off, turning it into a piece of space junk. When a satellite shuts down, it falls out of orbit: it often happens that the "remains" of a satellite fall where it is not supposed to. Once, a Soviet satellite containing radioactive elements for uninterrupted operation landed in Canada, resulting in an international scandal.
Picking up such a phone can make you feel like you're back in the '90s: so huge and uncomfortable they are. The main reason why they are so different from today's smartphones is that such phones exist only for calling from hard-to-reach areas where there is no other way to communicate.
Why do satellite phones cost so much? There is simply no competition in this industry to spur manufacturers to innovate. It makes no sense: a satellite phone should be easy to use, reliable, with clear menus and a very powerful battery that will never let you down. For the same reason, they are not equipped with the same features that are now available in ordinary phones - why all this when the phone exists for a specific purpose? It looks like satellite phones won't be like regular phones anytime soon. Have you ever held or used a satellite phone? Tell us in the comments.
Satellite communication is very reliable and will help out in any unclear situation, being a great addition to the cellular service we are used to. At the moment it is a very expensive service that will not suit everyone. Let's watch this industry: it develops very slowly, but it does not need development, the most important thing is reliability.