If you believe that Earth’s orbit is “exclusive” to Elon Musk and his Starlink satellites, well, you’re wrong. Space is particularly coveted, devoid of atmosphere but full of dollars that can come from next-generation telecommunication systems. Thus, alongside the constellation of Musk, in the low orbit, we also find Project Kuiper, an idea born by Jeff Bezos under the umbrella of Amazon which aims to provide broadband internet service on a planetary scale by emitting the signal from 3,236 satellites.
Already FCC certified – the project is now in the culmination of its development. Amazon has shown the antenna that will be made available to customers. A fundamental device – as you can easily guess – for the signal to be received the best way possible. It is a Ka-band phased array antenna (with frequencies between 27 and 40GHz) based on a newly developed architecture capable of providing high transmission speeds and low latency.
So far 400Mbps has been reached and 4K content has been able to be played. But in the future, it is assumed that these values may be exceeded. It should in fact be taken into account that at the moment a geostationary satellite is being used 50 times farther from Earth than where the Kuiper satellites will be positioned. The signal – and the service as a whole – will certainly benefit from this greater proximity to the earth’s surface.
Amazon intends to keep both the size and weight of the antenna and its cost low. Indeed, it is precisely the compactness of the implemented solution that allows the antenna itself to have a particularly low cost. Unlike other Ka-band solutions, Amazon’s antenna adopts a completely different approach. The transmitting and receiving antennas are not in fact deployed next to each other. But they are superimposed on each other. In this way, the device remains compact (30 centimeters in diameter), while guaranteeing all the features necessary for communication with satellites.