Imagine a scenario that you are in an uncivilized and secluded area, where network coverage and internet access is beyond imagination and you want to know the headlines of the day. What will you do? Well, there isn’t anything much to do than wait to reach somewhere there is internet connection. But in the near future the story won’t be the same, with the introduction of next generation technology called Outernet by which you can access web anywhere on Earth with a simple WiFi enabled device and it is completely free of cost. An ambitious organization called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to turn the age of online computing on its head by giving free web access to every person on Earth. To make this happen the MDIF will launch hundreds of satellites into the space starting by June 2014.
How Does Outernet work?
The working of Outernet is explained by its website as follows: “Outernet consists of a constellation of hundreds of low-cost, miniature satellites in Low Earth Orbit. Each satellite receives data streams from a network of ground stations and transmits that data in a continuous loop until new content is received. In order to serve the widest possible global audience, the entire constellation utilizes UDP-based multicasting over WiFi. Although still not common, WiFi multicasting is a proven technology, especially when the data requires only one hop to reach the recipient.”
The free Wi-Fi broadcasts would be bounced to earth from tiny satellites known as cubesats – 10cm cuboid satellites that have become the standard payload for low-cost missions. The team hopes that the satellites will be ferried into space on the back of International Space Station resupply missions.
Scope Of Outernet
Recent studies shows that there are more WiFi devices on Earth than the population of its people. But only 60% of the population is able to access internet. For the rest of them, web is still out of reach. Though the cost of WiFi enabled devices are decreasing year by year, its benefit is not distributed to the people of very rural areas because of the lack of proper infrastructures and high cost internet plans. This is where Outernet plays the key role. Outernet is also very useful for the people of countries like China, Iran, North-Korea, etc ; where people have only limited access to the internet and right to express their idea is restricted. Outernet will also offer a humanitarian notification system during emergencies and two-way Internet-access for a small set of users. The latter feature will be reserved for individuals and organizations that are unable to access conventional communication networks due to natural disasters or man-made restrictions to the free-flow of information.
- DECEMBER 2013
Phase I Technical Assessment
- JUNE 2014
Development of prototype satellites and testing of long range WiFi multicasting.
- SEPTEMBER 2014
Transmission testing in flight-like environments (requesting time on the International Space Station)
- JANUARY 2015
Launch and testing of constellation operations
- APRIL 2015
Establish manufacturing process for hundreds of satellites
- JUNE 2015
Begin deployment of Outernet as launch schedule permits
How To Contribute?
You can be a part of the Outernet Project by sharing your ideas and views here. You can also support by donations starting from $5 and all contributions are 100% tax-deductable. For more information, visit: https://www.outernet.is