LunaNet: 5G Gamers Argue Internet for the Moon | Light reading

Space communications are all the rage these days, with companies ranging from Amazon to SpaceX to AT&T eyeing services promising to connect earthlings to the internet via satellites.

But there is a debate raging in some policy circles that is even more “out there”. How is the internet supposed to work on the moon?

Already some of the largest companies in the US have something to say about it.

“The study of establishing a new article under the International Radio Regulations concerning the use of telecommunications on the moon would establish clear guidelines for all potential users of the lunar spectrum without the need to review the compatibility studies that have been developed for the use of that spectrum on Earth,” T-Mobile told the FCC in a recent filing.

The FCC – the US agency responsible for the nation’s airwaves – takes the matter seriously. Governments and companies around the world “are pursuing lunar missions, with unmanned remote exploration already underway and with human visits to the moon expected as early as 2025,” the FCC wrote. “From there, permanent bases and regular space travel (both manned and remotely operated) will be established by the end of this decade or the early 1930s. This is not speculation.”

(Source: NASA)

The agency continued, “There is an urgent need to meet the communications and data transmission requirements of long-term and continuous commercial and scientific operations on and around the moon.”

LunaNet landing

Through its Artemis program, NASA intends to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, followed shortly by establishing a sustained lunar presence. And to do that, he’ll need a communications network.

“LunaNet is NASA’s answer to networked communications on the moon,” wrote a NASA researcher quoted by the FCC. “The LunaNet architecture will be flexible and extensible, providing missions to the moon with necessary communications services. LunaNet was developed through NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program Office, which oversees operations, maintenance and progress of NASA’s current network operations.”

Already Lockheed Martin, a huge government contractor, has pitched its Parsec service for parts of that network. Parsec “uses a system of small satellites working in unison to enable a seamless connection between Earth and the people and resources on the lunar surface,” according to the company. “These satellites serve as an orbiting network that provides comprehensive coverage and support to meet the needs of lunar missions.”

Lockheed Martin, it’s worth noting, is also the focus of the Pentagon’s JADC2 program, which could use 5G to coordinate communications between all branches of the US military.

To be clear, some 5G players are already busy with the idea of ​​illuminating the surface of the moon. For example, Nokia and Intuitive Machines have made clear their interest in building a private 4G network on the surface of the moon by the end of this year.

Global coordination

Later this year, the member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will gather in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23). The event brings together essentially all of the telecommunications regulators from around the world, from the FCC in the US to Ofcom in the UK to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

During the event, regulators will work to harmonize spectrum allocations so that phones built for the US, for example, can also be used in the UK, Australia and other countries around the world. They will also discuss spectrum for 6G.

One of the many topics on the WRC-23 agenda is the global coordination of lunar communications.

“It is of the utmost importance to the success of exploration and conducting continuous operations on the moon that there is a reliable, understandable, usable and available data and communications architecture to handle the data communications and transmission services that these exploration and operations will be The timely and effective development of this architecture is essential to the advancement of lunar exploration, scientific research, and the broader commercial lunar economy,” according to the FCC.

For example, some FCC proposals include allocating the 390-405 MHz, 406-406.1 MHz, and 410-420 MHz spectrum bands for communications on the lunar surface.

Companies including Verizon and T-Mobile have offered some general comments to the FCC as part of the agency’s WRC-23 preparations.

Verizon, for example, has advocated the “development of an international regulatory framework for spectrum management as a necessary precursor to future action on lunar spectrum sharing and compatibility studies. In the absence of a clear framework for international spectrum management, we it is clear how lunar communications could be effectively implemented.

Of course, the need for fast, Netflix-ready 5G connections for the iPhone is probably decades away Stranger things fans on the moon. But there are already clear signals that a coordinated approach to lunar communications is needed. For example, the United States and South Korea recently signed an agreement to enhance cooperation on space activities, including lunar exploration. And the Japanese company ispace recently attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to carry out the first private remote moon landing.

Related posts:

Mike Dano, editorial director, 5G and mobile strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

#LunaNet #Gamers #Argue #Internet #Moon #Light #reading

Leave a Comment