Amazon’s Rival to Starlink Takes Vital Step Towards Deployment


Amazon’s Kuiper low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite tv for pc community handed a major milestone when its two orbiting satellites had been in a position to talk with one another at excessive information switch speeds utilizing Optical Inter-Satellite tv for pc Hyperlink (OISL) know-how, the corporate revealed final week.

OISL is a key part of Kuiper’s mesh structure, which makes use of infrared lasers to ship information between satellites. In keeping with Amazon, it was in a position to keep a secure connection between the 2 prototype satellites at an information switch velocity of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) and a distance of 621 miles.

These checks validated the ultimate part of Venture Kuiper’s superior communications structure, and the outcomes make sure that OISLs can be operational on our first manufacturing satellites, slated for launch within the first half of 2024, the corporate said on its on-line information website.

“With optical inter-satellite hyperlinks throughout our satellite tv for pc constellation, Venture Kuiper will successfully function as a mesh community in area,” Venture Kuiper’s Vice President of Expertise Rajeev Badyal stated in a press release.

By making a mesh community in area, Amazon defined that will probably be in a position to improve throughput and scale back latency throughout the Kuiper constellation and supply customers of the community extra flexibility to connect with it throughout land, sea, air, and area.

“Satellite tv for pc-to-satellite communication is the place there’s typically a bottleneck,” stated Peter Chahal, community and telecommunications analysis director at IDC, a worldwide market and analysis agency.

“By having this optical mesh, it’s going to permit Amazon to deal with latency points,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “By having optical inter-satellite connectivity, it’ll keep higher efficiency and decrease latency.”

Leveraging AWS

Amazon famous that one other advantage of utilizing OISLs is the velocity at which information will be moved world wide. Mild travels sooner in area than it does by glass, which signifies that Kuiper’s orbital laser mesh community can switch information roughly 30% sooner than if it traveled the equal distance through terrestrial fiber optic cables, it defined.

Venture Kuiper may also profit from Amazon’s AWS service and infrastructure. “Not solely does Amazon have OISL between satellites, however it’s going to have floor stations in shut proximity to Amazon information facilities so it may well keep low latency and excessive efficiency on the community from area to the terrestrial floor stations,” Chahal stated.


In comparison with Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink LEO satellite tv for pc community, which makes use of a point-to-point structure, Kuiper could be very complicated. To take care of the energy of the laser hyperlinks within the system, gentle unfold must be minimized over distances as much as 1,616 miles. Then, the connection must be maintained between spacecraft transferring at speeds of as much as 15,534 miles per hour — and all of that must be achieved whereas compensating for satellite tv for pc and flight dynamics.

The payoff to all that complexity, Amazon maintains, is the flexibility to maneuver and land information anyplace through the area mesh community, bringing safe, resilient connectivity to a variety of the corporate’s enterprise and public sector prospects.

This functionality is particularly essential for patrons working in areas with out a close by floor station, comparable to a cruise liner in the midst of the ocean or an plane making a transatlantic flight, Amazon defined, whereas permitting them to securely uplink information from successfully any location on Earth, transmit it by area through laser communications, and downlink it to their vacation spot of selection.

Good November for Kuiper

“Amazon’s optical mesh community will present a number of paths to route information by area, creating resiliency and redundancy for patrons who have to securely transport info world wide,” Kuiper Authorities Options Vice President Ricky Freeman stated in a press release.

“That is particularly essential for these seeking to keep away from communications architectures that may be intercepted or jammed,” he continued, “and we stay up for making these capabilities out there to public sector prospects seeking to transfer and land information from distant areas to their desired vacation spot.”

Amazon’s disclosure of its OISL success capped a sequence of milestones Kuiper achieved in November.

“Profitable checks have showcased the primary two-way video name, Extremely HD 4K video streaming from Amazon Prime Video, and the first-ever Amazon.com buy carried out over Amazon’s Kuiper SatCom community,” Analyst Victor Xu wrote in a report for ABI Analysis, a worldwide know-how intelligence agency.


“These checks have validated all programs and subsystems on board Venture Kuiper’s prototype satellites,” he continued, “and have marked a considerable step ahead for the Kuiper mega-constellation, which is a deliberate constellation of three,236 low Earth orbit satellites.”

He added that ABI anticipated that the worldwide satellite tv for pc broadband market will generate service revenues of about US$18.5 billion by 2030, representing a 13.9% compound annual development charge (CAGR) from 2022 to 2030.

“The way forward for delivering the Web will look very completely different from what we have now been utilizing,” stated know-how analyst Jeff Kagan.

“Satellite tv for pc web connectivity will play an more and more essential function in society,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “It should ship service to areas which have none, and it’ll supply a aggressive selection in areas the place there are restricted choices.”

Bezos Burger Bar

Successes apart, Kuiper nonetheless has a protracted method to go to catch as much as Starlink, which already has 5,420 satellites orbiting the Earth. “You can say that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk share the identical dream; the distinction is that Elon Musk has already delivered what Jeff Bezos desires of,” John Strand, of Strand Seek the advice of, a consulting agency with a deal with telecom, in Denmark, informed TechNewsWorld.

“Jeff Bezos has opened his first burger bar. Elon Musk owns McDonald’s,” he quipped.

“If you happen to look additional down the highway, Starlink has the benefit,” he stated. “They’ve entry to low cost lifting capability — the capability that’s the basis for setting these satellites up in area.”

He added that Starlink’s quantity of satellites provides it an edge not solely in area however on the bottom, too. “Whenever you have a look at the regulatory challenges that have an effect on this trade, Starlink’s quantity will make or not it’s seen by the authorities in lots of nations as an essential various supplier of significant infrastructure,” he stated. “This offers them higher entry to nationwide regulators.”

“It’s nice that Amazon is growing and making an attempt new know-how,” he continued. “Competitors is wholesome for the market, however I don’t suppose Kuiper is one thing that’s spoiling the sleep of the oldsters at Starlink.”

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