Starlink’s broadcast antennas have been reacting unpredictably to the summer weather in the US — even competing with the unusual phrases of their owner, billionaire Elon Musk. But Starlink, the satellite internet arm, says at least its mobile antennas made for vehicles will withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low.
New ESIM antennas will have the ability to melt snow
Starlink’s mobile antennas for vehicles are currently not available on the market. But the company filed a technical sheet with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) – US agency equivalent to Anatel – on Tuesday (3) to ask for approval of the device.
The document reveals that the FCC authorized Starlink to install up to 1 million terrestrial antennas, which must connect with a constellation of 4,400 satellites — with launch already authorized. Elon Musk has already said that he would like to make the company’s satellite Internet mobile, and this appears to be the first step in the operation.
Compared to normal Starlink antennas, the new ESIM (Earth Station in Motion) models are protected against extreme cold and heat, as well as having the ability to melt snow and ice. Given all this, the equipment will continue to function, says SpaceX.
Starlink’s mobile antenna is made for large vehicles
The new ESIM antennas will have greater receiving power and less transmitting power. The order made by SpaceX also claims that the receivers will dialogue with other devices “visible on the horizon and with an elevation at an angle of 25 degrees”.
But those who own cars, including Teslas, will not be able to carry the equipment: the design was made for aircraft, trucks, trailers, and boats. This was said by Musk himself.
Starlink antennas often break down at temperatures above 50°C. One of the customers, who is enrolled in the beta phase of the Starlink program and received the equipment, had to water his own antenna to cool it down. It returned to work soon after.
To bring ESIM to market, the FCC must approve the 12 GHz broadband connection. SpaceX recognizes that mobile antennas, by using this frequency, may experience interference from TV satellites and MVDDS (Multichannel Video and Data Distribution Service) — signal distribution technology available in the US.
In favor of FCC clearance, SpaceX argues that installing ESIM is in the public interest and increases vehicle broadband coverage not only in the US, but also worldwide. Obviously the company is thinking about aircraft: many airlines still lack free Wi-Fi while traveling.
Starlink Beta has 90,000 participants from 12 countries
In perspective, the Starlink test program has 90,000 subscribers, participating from 12 countries. A report by Ookla stated that “due to orbiting closer to the Earth’s surface, Starlink’s internet was the only one that maintained average latency close to fiber internet in Q2 2021.”
Starlink proposes to deliver signal in remote areas; its founder, Elon Musk, says that by August, the company should provide coverage capable of covering every corner of the globe. This, of course, attracted the attention of other network operators in the US, who decided to fight in the FCC to veto funding for the SpaceX subsidiary. In May, Anatel released two satellite antennas that were installed in the company’s ground stations in Brazil.
With information: ArsTechnica