Amazon’s Challenge Kuiper has developed a small, low-cost buyer terminal for its broadband satellite tv for pc community – TechCrunch

Amazon’s Project Kuiper has developed a small, low-cost customer terminal for its broadband satellite network – TechCrunch


Amazon’s Challenge Kuiper is probably one of many firm’s most bold tasks but: Constructing a globe-spanning broadband wi-fi community to ship inexpensive connectivity to underserved communities. Challenge Kuiper has made progress this yr with a key FCC approval, and now it’s additionally created a prototype of a key piece of {hardware} that can assist its future clients benefit from the satellite tv for pc community on the bottom.

That is truly a giant half of what’s going to assist make Challenge Kuiper a service that’s broadly accessible, and a improvement that places the Amazon venture in an industry-leading place with a singular benefit. The prototype developed by the group communicates on the Ka-band of the wi-fi spectrum, and is the smallest and lightest piece of {hardware} that may try this. It’s in a position to obtain speeds of as much as 400 Mbps, and Amazon says that it’ll truly get higher via future iterations.

For technical particulars on how this was achieved and what it means for the ultimate design, Amazon explains from a weblog submit describing the design course of:

Our phased array antenna takes a unique method. As a substitute of inserting antenna arrays adjoining to at least one one other, we used tiny antenna factor constructions to overlay one over the opposite. This has by no means been achieved within the Ka-band. The breakthrough permits us to cut back the dimensions and weight of your complete terminal, whereas working in a frequency that delivers larger bandwidth and higher efficiency than different bands. Our design makes use of a mixture of digital and analog elements to electronically steer Ka-band beams towards satellites passing overhead.

The result’s a single aperture phased array antenna that measures 12 inches in diameter, making it 3 times smaller and proportionately lighter than legacy antenna designs. This order of magnitude discount in dimension will scale back manufacturing prices by an equal measure, permitting Amazon to supply clients a terminal that’s extra inexpensive and simpler to put in.

Picture Credit: Amazon

The underside line is that Amazon’s design for Kuiper can vastly scale back the associated fee and complexity of constructing the ground-based infrastructure that shall be required with a purpose to present entry to its community to end-users. It’s additionally low-latency, and Amazon has discovered that it could present 4K streaming capabilities even throughout its testing with geostationary satellites immediately – that are as a lot as 50 instances additional out from the place Challenge Kuiper satellites will ultimately be positioned in low-Earth orbit.

Amazon isn’t but sharing particular pricing details about what the terminal will ultimately price, past touting its affordability relative to current options. I’ll be speaking to Amazon SVP of Devices and Services Dave Limp at TC Sessions: Space today, and we’ll talk about the antenna together with all the things else in regards to the venture.



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