After its successful satellite to cell phone text message, Lynk Global may be “bigger than 5G” in the words of CEO Charles Miller. While unlikely to cause the sort of uproar generated by John Lennon’s remark 50 plus years ago, it is, nevertheless, a bold statement. SatelliteToday.com has had much to report lately as Lynk and SpaceX race to launch their fleets of low earth satellites.
“Our technology basically takes the satellite and turns it into a standard ordinary cell tower from the perspective of everybody’s phone in their pocket, the mobile phone they love and take with them everywhere,” said Miller said. “Our satellite in orbit looks like a cell tower to them, smells like a cell tower and sounds like a cell tower, and they and they operate with it like a cell tower.”
Lynk refers to its satellites as “cell towers in space” and claims that they can blanket an area, no matter how remote, with reliable cell phone coverage. “We are ubiquitous backup, resilient, networking for emergency responders,” Miller said. “If you’re dealing with COVID, or Ebola in remote areas, we will enable you to stay connected to emergency responders. Down the road once we’re in service, we will be part of a fully integrated emergency response service.”
The software stack normally found in an earthbound cell tower has been relocated into the satellites. A doppler shift that might break the link in ordinary circumstances fools connecting phones into thinking that the orbiting satellite is closer than it is. Miller explains that the Lynk satellites provide “front haul” service, connecting phones and satellites without having to route through an antenna.
Miller notes that by skipping the WiFi connection element, “You’re gonna’ roam onto our network and we’ll provide coverage. We’re not going to be as fast as any of the other guys. But we fill in all the black spots. So we’re a completely different category of service.”