Ariane 5 Tries Again

Arianespace has begun the final countdown for today’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission after a dramatic last second abort yesterday. With its main engine already spewing flame, the Ariane 5 rocket was grounded Wednesday when a computer check uncovered a problem and shut down the engine.

The heavy lift rocket will carry a dual-satellite payload for telecommunications operators serving Africa and the Middle East; Yahsat Y1A and Intelsat New Dawn.

Yahsat Y1A is the first satellite built for Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat), a pioneer in satellite solutions for the Middle East, Africa, South West Asia and Europe. It will be deployed first, with its release scheduled at 27 min. into the mission. Yahsat Y1A will provide customized relay services for the government and commercial sectors with telecommunication services for corporate data networks, Internet trunking and GSM backhauling.

Intelsat’s New Dawn will separate from the launch vehicle approximately 35 minutes after liftoff. New Dawn will be operated and marketed as a part of the global Intelsat fleet, bringing to 22 the number of Intelsat satellites serving Africa. New Dawn is the first-ever African private sector communications satellite, with the mission of supplying critical communications infrastructure for African customers.

Manufactured by Orbital Sciences in Dulles, Virginia, New Dawn carries C-band and Ku-band transponders at 32.8 degrees East for its Africa area coverage and will deliver wireless backhaul, broadband and media content which are the fastest growing satellite-based applications in Africa.

The Ariane 5 is operated and marketed by Arianespace. Astrium builds the rockets in Europe and Arianespace launches them from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.

Marines use Balloon Relay

A new helium-balloon transmission system was deployed to communicate between ships and Harrier jets, for conducting air strikes against the Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi on March 20.

The system, known as Lofted Comms, uses a communications relay attached to a helium balloon. A tethered mode offers a shorter range of extending communications and allows multiple use of the same balloon and payload, but may not overcome some obstacles.

It its un-tethered mode, the balloon can rise up to 80,000 feet, overcoming obstacles like mountains and even curvature of the Earth, but lasts only as long as winds keep the balloon in the area and affords only one use per balloon and payload.

Normally, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft would be used to relay communications from the ship. But the balloon system, which was first tested in Kuwait in January 2009, costs less and doesn’t risk additional lives.

Space Data Corp got a lot of press about its plan to provide specialized telecom services to truckers and oil companies via balloons. The Air Force conducted a series of tests using Space Data balloons to extend voice communications from 10 miles to over 400 miles for troops on the ground.

Space Data’s StarFighter Payload operates as a military-UHF repeater, covering 225-375 MHz. Space Data has available 2 MHz of the 3 MHz allocated to commercial Narrowband PCS in the United States, part of the FCC’s licensed 900 MHz band. The balloons rise about 1,000 feet a minute and reach their target altitude of 65,000 to 100,000 feet in under two hours. They stay aloft for about 24 hours, then the $1,500 transceivers are retrieved by scouts who are paid $100 for each one.

Cornell University graduate students, broke the world Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning record this month for the highest altitude of 135,030 feet with a 141,000 cubic feet balloon volume. The Raven Aerostar balloon was a Zero Pressure Balloon made from thin plastic filled with helium.

Thuraya XT is said to be the world’s toughest satellite handheld and the world’s smallest satellite broadband solution.

Related Dailywireless stories include; UAV Spy Platforms, AEHF Satellite – Billion Dollar Brick?, Solar Plane Completes Night Flight, Red Balloon Challenge Won by MIT Team, Balloons: Hot Air?

Kansas City Wins Google Fiber

Back in February, 2010, Google announced an offer to provide a free fiber optic service – with 1 Gbps, fiber-to-the-home connections – to one lucky community in the United States. Nearly 1,100 cities, with populations between 50,000 and up to 500,000, submitted proposals to Google.

Today, Google has announced their decision. And the prize goes to…Kansas City, Kansas.

Why did Google choose Kansas City, Kansas?

In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop the gigabit applications of the future. Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speed Internet to other cities across the country.


Google is joining Mayor Reardon in Kansas City, Kansas, for an event they’ll carry live on the Google YouTube channel at 10am PDT.

Kansas City is the third-largest city in Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 145,786.

The population density is 1,181.9 people per square mile with 61,446 housing units at an average density of 494.5/sq mi. The racial makeup of the city is 55.7% White, 30.12% African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.72% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 8.61% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.78% of the population. Kansas City, Kansas is the home to the GM Fairfax plant, which manufactures the Chevrolet Malibu and the Buick LaCrosse.

Internet2 is building a nationwide 100 Gbps-capable network, leveraged by the United States Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN), a collaborative effort between the research, education and health care. Funded through a $62.5 million federal stimulus grant from the NTIA, Internet2 is increasing its network’s bandwidth from about 100 Gbps to 8.8 Tbps to connect over 200,000 community anchor institutions.

Internet2 and Lambda Rail both won a joint broadband grant to build what they call “Unified Community Anchor Network.” In total, the new network will be built over 17,000 miles of fiber. That fiber will be lit with Ciena’s ActivFlex 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with WaveLogic coherent optical processors for its new network that can scale to 88 wavelengths of 100 Gbps. The new network with 88, 100 Gbps wavelengths, replaces the earlier 10 X 10 Gbps network, of Internet2. Internet2 interconnects with middle mile networks — some of which also are building broadband stimulus grant-funded networks. Level 3 will build the national network with 8.8 Tbps of capacity.

National LambdaRail is a 12,000-mile national fiber-optic network owned and operated by the U.S. research and education community, in contrast with Internet2, which is a university and corporate enterprise.

National LambdaRail was the first transcontinental 10-GigE network (with capacity up to 1.6 Tbit/s aggregate). The 100 Gbit/s upgrade is now underway. NLR has interconnection between the NLR-operated Cisco TelePresence Exchange with the commercial global equivalent exchanges at AT&T and Tata Communications.

Verizon’s Glenn Wellbrock, talks about their rollout of 100G. Verizon’s plans to rollout its own 100G fiber network along select U.S. routes by the second quarter of this year. It will use Juniper Networks’ routers and Ciena’s 100G optical transport. Verizon also used Juniper and Ciena equipment for its 100G deployment in Europe earlier this year. For the long-haul portion, a 100 Mb/s signal can be carried on a single wavelength. There are lots of wavelengths in a single strand, using wavelength-division multiplexing.

Larry Smarr loves Glimmerglass. It will be used for the West Coast’s underwater Ocean Observatory Network. Glimmerglass switches lightpaths, even whole bundles of DWDM wavelengths, using micro-mirrors.

Larry doesn’t share his 10GigE connection – Glimmerglass switches a dedicated 10GigE line directly into his PC – which happens to be an Optiputer, a tightly coupled supercomputer. Hard drive speeds. Shared.

John Orcutt is the PI on the OOI Cyberinfrastructure project. It’s one of the first real-world, 100 GigE applications.

According to Strategy Analytics the US is 20th in household broadband use.

President Obama wants to spend $18 billion in federal funds towards his wireless goals.

  • Fire, police and other emergency responders would get $10.7 billion in federal support for a dedicated public service network.
  • About $5 billion, currently used for rural phone subsidies, would be repurposed to build cell towers and backhaul networks to towns without mobile broadband services.
  • An additional $3 billion would go to research and development for wireless technologies.

DailyTech has analysis of the Administration’s broadband plan. It’s not a bad plan – if the 700 MHz “D-Block” were shared by the public and first responders. Otherwise, providing another 3% of Americans with broadband, by extending penetration from 95% to 98% (9.2 million people), is going to be very costly, according to critics like House Energy and Commerce Chairman, Fred Upton.

Related Dailywireless articles include; The 100 Gbps Backbone , Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, Google’s Transpacific Fiber Ready, The Telephone Game, Google + SingTel = Unity Submarine Fiber, Google: Now it’s Transpacific Fiber, Fiber Crosses the Pond, Municipal Broadband: Here We Go Again, Muni Fiber for Portland?, Supercomputer 05, Oceanic Fiber: The Global Express and Amazon Cloud for Ocean Observatories

CradlePoint MBR-1400: Mission Critical Mobile Router

CradlePoint, which makes mobile routers that use 4G backhaul, today announced the MBR1400, said to be a Mission-Critical Broadband Router.

Designed for small business, branch office, and retail locations, it provides a secure primary or backup connection to the internet. In addition to connection options for traditional wired networking solutions like Cable, DSL, or T1, it can use USB or ExpressCard Data Modems to create instant networks anywhere you receive a wireless broadband signal.

Features include:

  • Network failover to alternative networks ensures continuous network uptime
  • Load balancing of multiple wireless and wired data inputs ensures performance
  • Dual band WiFi broadcast – either 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz
  • 500 MHz MIPS processor platform is designed to provide 100 Mbps performance
  • 3×3 Wi-Fi antenna subsystem provides extended Wi-Fi range
  • Provides up to 20 concurrent VPN pass-through sessions utilizing IPSec for the highest level of remote security
  • ‘Wi-Fi as WAN’ feature enables the MBR1400 to act as a Wi-Fi repeater or Wi-Fi to Ethernet bridge

CradlePoint’s LTE firmware release is now available for CradlePoint’s 4G routers, including the CTR500, CBA250, CBA750, MBR800, MBR900, MBR90, MBR1000, and MBR1200 is available now. Current owners of CradlePoint products can download final LTE firmware for their specific products. The new MBR1400 mobile router is available now for $379.99.

Cox Cable Mobile Service Expands

Cox Communications today officially introduced its mobile phone and high-speed Internet service throughout Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. Cox Communications, which is the third largest cable operator in the United States, serves more than 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers, and 2.2 million digital telephone subscribers. The company earlier launched mobile phone service in Hampton Roads, Va., Omaha, Neb. and Orange County, Calif.

Cox Communications is offering wireless phone service and devices in their service area with a variety of voice and mobile data plans. The company bought both AWS spectrum and 700 MHz spectrum in FCC auctions and is now beginning to roll out their service.

SpectrumCo, the AWS bidding consortium with Cox, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, picked up 137 licenses in 2006’s Advanced Wireless Services auction (at 1.7/2.1 GHz). SpectrumCo won a total of 137 AWS licenses for $2.37 billion. Comcast’s share was $1.29 billion, followed by Time Warner Cable’s $632.2 million, and Cox’s $248.3 million. (See SpectrumCo Gets Licenses). Cox paid $248.3 million for AWS licenses in 2006, and transfered those licenses out of SpectrumCo and directly to Cox. Cox owns 12 megahertz of AWS spectrum licenses covering 76% of its wireline footprint.

Cox also paid $304M for 14 A block, and 8 B block licenses in the 700 MHz band. Their 700 MHz coverage is limited to just 14 “A” blocks, or 6.6 percent of the population, while its 8 “B” blocks cover just 0.6 percent, mostly in it’s cable territories.

Following Oklahoma, Cox will soon launch wireless service in its New England market, which includes Rhode Island and Cox communities in Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio. Later this year, the company will introduce Cox Wireless in additional markets, bringing its wireless service to more than 50 percent of the Cox footprint.

Cable companies have at least one big advantage: Hanging microcells from overhead cable is lots cheaper than building towers.

The Ruckus ZoneFlex 7761-CM is a strand-mounted dual-band 802.11n access point while the strand-mounted Belair 100SP supports a range of licensed 3G radios, with a migration to LTE, along with dual 802.11n radios.

Related Dailywireless articles include; LTE: Cox Cable Calling, FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra, Battle of the Bands Goes to Congress, Phoney Spectrum Scarcity , T-Mobile: Now HSPA+ Coverage for 75M, Clear: No Limits, FCC to Okay $2.3B AT&T Deal, Cellcos: One Thing – Bandwidth, T-Mobile Eyeing Clear Spectrum, FCC Considers Auctioning Off TV Frequencies, AT&T Data Caps Extend to Femtocells, AT&T’s New Data Plans,White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, FCC: Change for Broadcasting & USF, FCC Moves Forward with White Space Databases, Comcast Goes Mobile with WiMAX, Time-Warner Adding Mobile WiMAX Service, National Broadband Plan Previewed, FCC “Finds” 500MHz?, FCC to Auction TV Airwaves?,

Microsoft: Shared Spectrum Analyzers for White Space

Microsoft researchers say they have a better way to utilize “white space” networks. Microsoft’s “SpecNet” would create a network of spectrum analyzers, allowing remote detection of frequencies that could be used for transmission, according to a paper that will be presented next week (pdf).

The SpecNet architecture, developed at Microsoft Research, contains three key components: users or clients, slave servers that comprise laptops/PCs connected to spectrum analyzers, and master servers that manage the slave servers.

Microsoft says a key requirement for enabling unused television frequencies for internet access is a way to measure the airwaves. But spectrum analyzers can cost $10,000 to $40,000 each. The researchers suggest that the network be set up by volunteers who have spectrum analyzers to commit to SpecNet for assigned time periods. [Apparently Microsoft believes there are alot of Spectrum Analyzers sitting around in basements].

Each analyzer would be connected to a server that would issue commands to it via XML remote procedure calls over HTTP, SpecNet fulfills this need by enabling geographically distributed spectrum analyzers to be networked. Furthermore, SpecNet has an API that allows users to build distributed sensing applications like SpectrumCop with relative ease.

Carlson Wireless says they have developed RuralConnect IP, a software-defined radio for white spaces service in rural and underserved areas.

The company worked with database provider Spectrum Bridge and KTS Wireless to develop the radio. The company hopes to receive Federal Communications Commission certification for the device — which is targeted primarily to the wireless Internet service providers — in May, said Jim Carlson, president of Carlson Wireless.

The company has received an experimental license from the FCC to test the radio on lands occupied by the Yurok Tribe in the Klamath River region of Northern California. The tribe is the state’s largest with about 5,000 members and its tribal lands cover roughly 63,000 acres of rugged terrain that render other broadband wireless technologies ineffective.

While use of white spaces has been approved in the U.S. by the FCC, no other country has given the OK. SpecNet, with its use of equipment that is lent to the project, could broaden the studies and push other countries to approve white space use, the researchers say.

White Spaces utilize unused 6 MHz-wide channels in the television band, compared to Wi-Fi, which uses 20 MHz channels. But multiple adjacent channels may be ganged together when spectrum is available and the signals generally penetrate walls and foliage better.

Software Defined Radio and Cognitive Radio are enablers for Dynamic Spectrum Access, says ABI Research. Spectrum Sensing Cognitive Radio has been developed for the TV bands.

Microsoft submitted comments highlighting reallocation of spectrum for licensed use, but also innovative technologies – such as dynamic spectrum access – that can make higher and better use of limited spectrum.

Microsoft submitted comments and sponsored a white paper (pdf) by Professor Dirk Grunwald of the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a part of their efforts to address the growing challenges of limited spectrum.

The FCC conditionally designated nine entities as TV band (“white space”) device database administrators (pdf). These databases tell TV band devices what channels they can transmit on without causing interference to TV broadcast stations, wireless microphones and other authorized broadcast auxiliary services.

White spaces aren’t likely to unset the balance of power anytime soon.

Mobile devices will be limited to 100 mW and fixed transceivers to 1 Watt (4 watts EIRP). Each Base Station is equipped with GPS and its location is sent back to centralized servers.

Frequencies in the 300-500MHz range are likely to penetrate walls and concrete much better than 1900/2100 Mhz cellular or WiFi signals, but the antennas are much bigger – the size of tv antennas. White spaces may also be used for Smart Meters and in-home communications.

Whether the FCC ruling will launch a new era in broadband remains to be seen.

TV white spaces availability can be found for any location in the US by using the free search tool at Spectrum Bridge’s ShowMyWhiteSpace.com website, or by downloading the company’s free iPhone application.

Related DailyWireless stories include; White Space: Now With TD-LTE?, FCC Chooses White Space Administrators, FCC Okays White Spaces , Hospital Tests White Spaces, FCC to Decide on White Spaces, White Spaces Tested in Wilmington NC , First White Space Trial for “Smart Grid”, White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, White Spaces Heating Up, FCC Moves Forward with White Space Databases, White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, Study: White Spaces Worth $100B, Microsoft’s WhiteFi: Wi-Fi Using Whitespaces, NAB to FCC: White Spaces Illegal, Free White Space Mapping, White Spaces: It’s The Law, TV White Spaces: New Era for Wi-Fi?, NAB: Blowblack on Whitespace, White Spaces: Green Light from FCC Report, White Space Field Testing, Welcome to the White Space, Microsoft Disputes FCC Unlicensed Finding, FCC: License-free 700MHz Devices Failed Test, Broadcasters: Portable Devices Kill DTV, Mud Fight in White Space, Pushing for “White Space”, Google Launches White Space Offensive, Motorola on Whites Spaces: We’re Good, White Space Field Testing, Google Pitches White Spaces, White Spaces: Now It’s GE, CTIA: Unlicensed White Spaces Bad.