Fudge Sunday - All Along the Watchtowerby Jay Cuthrell
This issue is part 3 of a 5 part series
- Fudge Sunday - And the way that gravity pulls on everyone
- Fudge Sunday - And All Points In Between
- Fudge Sunday - All Along the Watchtower
- Fudge Sunday - Get High On a New Thing
- Fudge Sunday - I Don’t Know Where I’ll Be Tomorrow
All along the watchtower
Do you notice cell towers or do cell towers blend into the background? As a thought experiment, think back to the first time you noticed a cell tower.
Could you point out the closest cell tower to you right now? Could you point to the closest antenna arrays on tops of buildings?
It’s probably easy to point out this kind of infrastructure simply because of the ubiquity of mobile communications that proliferate our modern world.
Now, in a large landmass like the United States there are parts of the country where you cannot find cell reception. Also, lack of cellular coverage for a consumer mobile phone is typically associated with being off the grid or very far away from a beaten path.
Princes kept the view
Setting aside towers, there are also geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) or low earth orbit (LEO) options for satellite based communications. The market includes everything from the satellite phones you see in movies as plot devices, high end outdoor sporting goods advertising, and rural satellite Internet services.
This year, Starlink came into the news cycle when beta testing for the first new satellite Internet service in decades. Hype cycles in the news were further enabled as underserved areas clamored to be part of these trials.
So, if you’ve ever dealt with legacy satellite internet from traditional providers, the allure of Starlink is obvious: faster, cheaper, and competitive. What also is interesting is the requirements to get up and running are drastically simplified, consumer friendly, and arguably elegant hardware.
Notably, one interesting thing about Starlink (besides the commonly polarizing founder) is the coverage area that is directly related the current placements of ground stations. More coverage will mean more ground stations in more locations and at higher density levels.
Two riders were approaching
Stepping back a bit, what if we had the possibility of more data centers in more locations. Imagine rich data services accessible via Internet for machine to machine communications as well as human to human voice over IP or even IP video conferencing.
Anywhere the satellites could see permit thinking about full ubiquity of access connectivity to IP networking. Now, let’s go back to that data center example.
So, in the past you might have been in the middle of a field in the middle of no place in particular. Now, you are now in a very particular place and with very particular capabilities if you can see the sky and the sky can see you.
For lack of better example, let’s take rural Montana as an example where there were no ground services a few years ago. Back then you had the sound of the pulse in your head and nature around you. Today, if you have a means for portable discrete power generation (solar, generator, etc.) you also have consumer access to Internet communications capability.
Again, you need not have cellular communication in this rural Montana example – in fact you’re going to have far more performance lower latency Satellite grade Internet connectivity that is actually on par with probably what you would find with traditional facilities based terrestrial broadband in less rural parts of Montana.
Next, challenge the idea that a large data center is always the next connection to a service accessed over the Internet. Consider the network overlays that will enable unique and novel patterns for services and the creation of companies that increasingly operate outside of purely terrestrial modality.
What happens when the edges of the network become the data centers?
What happens when edge and hyperscale distance isn’t terrestrial?
What happens when “as the crow flies” becomes a deprecated idiom?
And the wind began to howl
Breaking free of gravity is how satellites achieve orbital shell goals.
Breaking free of data gravity is how companies achieve multicloud goals.
Related to the themes above, a Quote Tweet of Techmeme coverage to highlight what I believe is coming sooner than we might think.
Today: Typically, an automobile must be taken to a dealership to wait for hours while a USB thumb drive or CDROM/DVD is used to manually install a software fix or update.🚗⏳🔧💸
Soon: Automotive OTA (over the air) update will eventually be embraced by all manufacturers.📻🚗💰📈 https://t.co/NfNZyoRBdY
Tesla to issue a software fix to 285K+ cars in China, after regulator finds its autopilot can get activated automatically, which may lead to sudden acceleration (Bloomberg)
✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️
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