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Is the Internet of Space Technically and Economically Viable?

Must the Internet of Things look skyward to space to ensure global coverage?

By John Blyler, Editorial Director

Most everyone has heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), where connectivity to people and things comes from Earth-bound wired and wireless networks. But fewer technologists know about the evolving Internet of Space (IoS), where connectivity comes from space-based satellites and—in the near future—lower altitude airborne platforms based on drones and even balloons. This article will look at the controversy and challenges surrounding the IoS, from the phrase itself to the technical RF and microwave issues, the business model viability, and finally the competition with terrestrial 5G and LTE networks.

Before considering the technical and business viability of the Internet of Space, we must first clarify the controversy surrounding the phrase itself. To many people, IoS refers to Apple’s mobile phone operating system, or the iOS. To IT professionals, the Internet of Space often refers to the architecture and topology of computer systems, where the physical or core processor exist in the space or clouds around us, all of which have an Internet Protocol (IP) address.

Conversely, microwave and RF engineers would probably recognize the Internet of Space as a reference to satellite-based technology. For the last several decades, many wireless devices have been designed to service communication satellite Ka- and Ku-bands. Indeed, the IEEE has noted an increase in interest and investment in space and suborbital-based high-data-rate communication networks. They label this technology as the Internet of Space and note that the primary goal of the IOS network is to deliver high bandwidth information to every part of the world.1

In 2016, the IEEE MTT Society initiated a major discussion of the IoS during the International Microwave Symposium in San Francisco. The essence of this discussion among the major satellite and RF-microwave vendors and investors will be highlighted shortly.

Read the complete story and original post at Microwave & RF Magazine

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