TELECOM: At-Sea Internet with Frickin’ Laser Beams
Captain readers struggling with slow internet connectivity at sea will be excited by recent news from the Virginia-based company Laser Light. The company is planning to launch the world’s first commercial satellite communications constellation based entirely on optical wave (laser) technology. The planned constellation will consist of 12 laser-equipped satellites (8 primary; 4 spares) in Medium Earth Orbit with an operating system capacity of 4.8 Tbps, including sat-sat optical crosslinks and sat-ground optical up/down links of 200 Gbps. These will be among the first satellites ever to exist without a reliance on the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. Laser Light intends to interconnect its proposed Optical Satellite System [OSS] with the global fiber network – terrestrial and undersea. This will establish a truly meshed optical network, ensuring world-wide coverage at service levels and connectivity options previously unattainable by other satellite platforms. “Laser LightTM may truly be a “game changer” in the delivery of large quantities of bandwidth from a satellite platform to the global fiber network system,” according to Robert H. Brumley, a Senior Managing Director at Laser Light. Laser Light’s potential service delivery advantage is made possible by the decades of research conducted by Raytheon Company in the field of free space optical lasers,” Brumley noted. “Laser LightTM will benefit from Raytheon’s technology, engineering expertise, and pending patents through an exclusive licensing agreement, enabling the commercial communications market to benefit from the deployment of this next generation, highly complementary all Optical Satellite System.” This next generation Optical Satellite System is possible because it uses Raytheon’s optical-wave StarBeamTM technologies. “We look forward to implementing our technologies and expertise in the design and build of space payloads that will create a cutting-edge solution for Laser LightTM,” commented Stephen D. Nordel, Raytheon’s SAS Program Director. “Raytheon’s patent-pending StarBeam technologies take full advantage of the latest advances in lasers, optical networking technologies and satellite payload size, weight and power designs, including technology that Raytheon developed in U.S. Government programs.” “With year over year increases in the volume of global internet traffic, demand for high rate data transport potentially places Laser LightTM in a unique market position,” according to Clifford W. Beek, Managing Director of Laser LightTM Communications. “Our aim is to offer telecom service providers, commercial enterprises, and government users a high quality service with an efficient technology platform – an all optical integrated satellite and terrestrial communications platform. ” Laser Light anticipates launching the first operational satellites in 2017.
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