March 4, 2024

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Amazon sends WiFi into space thanks to lasers

Amazon sends WiFi into space thanks to lasers

With Project Kuiper, Amazon wants to provide satellite internet. It is a laser connected mesh network.

Amazon wants to bring the Internet to places where it's still difficult to do so today. To achieve this, the company will use a satellite network. In October, the first two satellite prototypes took to the skies, and in mid-November Amazon revealed that all key systems were working as they should. However, there was one aspect of the satellites that the company even kept secret now: Satellites have “optical inter-satellite backhaul” capabilities. (oysl). In other words: WiFi thanks to space lasers.

Project Kuiper

The KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 satellites already had a lot of equipment on board. In November, it became possible to make video calls smoothly and without delay. As part of the test, the company logged into Amazon Prime Video and streamed the movie A million miles away In 4K quality, to show exactly how fast your network is. The only drawback is that at the moment there are only two satellites, which means that the connection moments are always very short. Amazon wants to solve this problem in 2024 by sending more satellites into space.

WiFi with laser

In other words: Amazon is sending Wi-Fi into space. Now the company is proving that it will not be an ordinary satellite network: OISL allows satellites to communicate with each other via laser. This technology achieved speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, while the distance between the two satellites was about 1,000 kilometers. So Amazon isn't sending regular WiFi into space, but rather a laser-equipped mesh WiFi.

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This technology is based on fiber: it also uses light to transmit signals. However, Amazon has one advantage: light moves through space much faster than it does through glass, making the connection faster than fiber. According to Amazon's calculations, OISL is 30% faster than what could be achieved using fiber over the same distance on Earth. It is important that the satellites are at a fixed distance from each other. These distances can reach 2,600 kilometers, while satellites move around the Earth at a speed of 25,000 kilometers per hour. This is also not a problem for the equipment.

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