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Internet is the backbone of today’s digital world. A cobweb of fiber optics/wireless towers has
been spread all over the globe for internet access in every nook and corner of the globe.
Fiber network has plunged into depth of oceans as well as on the peaks of mountains.
Though fiber optics over the globe is very costly affair, still major industries are opting for
fiber network or wireless towers connected through fiber optics instead of satellite
communication. Satellites can be placed in the three different orbits for the connectivity.
These are LEO (low earth orbit), MEO (medium earth orbit) and GEO (geostationary earth
orbit). Apart from that is also HEO (high earth orbit). Despite so much advancement in the
space technologies, satellite broadband is still in its infancy stage. There are some pioneers
in this field like Starlink, Oneweb, Hughesnet and so on but still viability of satellite
broadband seems like a distant dream. This paper reviews that why fiber optics or wireless
network using mobile towers has been the choice of technology giants instead of satellite
communications. Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is test piloting its upcoming
venture Starlink. It promises to keep the cost low for satellite broadband while providing
good download and upload speeds. In the trials, it is able to provide only asymmetric
download and upload speed to its end users. Optical fiber on the other hand provides
symmetric upload and download speed to its consumers. Similarly Airtel has bought 100%
stack of Oneweb company for its India operations. Oneweb also is launching satellites to
provide affordable broadband to the consumers. Oneweb has already launched 36 satellites.
Its plan is to launch 110 satellites in the LEO orbit by year 2021 while total 648 satellites will
be launched by year 2022. Oneweb also has the plan to start satellite broadband operations
in India in the same year (2022). There is a plethora of information available on internet on
the development of satellite broadband network but there is also a school of thought which
advocates optic fiber over satellite broadband for a normal household internet consumer.
Prime reason for advocating optic fiber network over satellite broadband is the latency. A
geostationary satellite takes latency of 0.2 seconds (200 milliseconds) on an average for
uplink and downlink of data. A low earth orbit satellite takes from 1 to 4 milliseconds but only
in paper. In reality low earth orbit satellites gives asymmetric speed because a moving
satellite might not be able to provide uniform speed to the user at all times. Starlink satellite
broadband has fluctuating latency. It hovers between 18 milliseconds to 88 milliseconds.
These kind of latencies are not conducive for real time applications. Oneweb has not started
its commercial implementation properly yet. It is yet to see that how their latency will fare as
compare to optic fiber broadband. This paper discusses various difficulties occurring in
implementation of satellite network for commercial and home use and the implementation of
Starlink project for satellite broadband. This paper also sheds light on how SPT (Squeeze
Pack and transfer) compression algorithm can help in improving internet implementation
using satellite communication.
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