Can I help? I'm a satellite communications engineer

Hi,

I’ve been watching the Outernet project with interest since I first heard about it some months ago.

I’m a UK-based satellite communications engineer, and my company, RPC Telecommunications, is working with commercial geostationary and non-geostationary satellite operators around the World. Our main area of expertise is spectrum and regulatory engineering, although we have a broad general knowledge of the communications side of the satellite industry.

Your aim to use satellite technology to provide free, global access to information is a really inspiring one, and I would like to know more about the project, with a view to offer to help in some way, if you think that might be useful.

Best wishes,

Mark

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Hi Mark,

It would be great to take this to email and also follow up with a conversation. I’m sure we can figure out a way to get you involved and leverage your industry experience. As examples, we want to open source the proprietary datacasting client that we currently use. This will allow more receivers to build in the software necessary to receive and decode our content. We are also working towards setting a hardware reference design and product wifi receivers–until our margins are squeezed by other market entrants.

Looking forward to talking in more detail.
Syed
[email protected]

Thanks Syed!

I’ll be in touch…

Over a decade ago, I was a Senior Systems Engineer for a company that provided internet via satellite to the US and South America, using a system very similar to Outernet. Ever since then, I’ve thought a system like Outnet should exist, but never had the means to make it happen.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that DVB-T modulators are now only about US$200, which got me looking into opencaster again…

I have OSS development experience. I was the lead developer for Asterisk(VoIP) integratoin in XRMS(CRM/SFA) long ago. I also have network engineering and sysadmin experience.

I’m also an amateur radio operator, N9JFR, with a stong interest in digital modes.

I would love to implement an open source satellite datacasting solution.

What is your current arrangement with your satellite uplink providers? Do you just provide a bitstream or do you provide a modulated signal?

Have you considered broadcast scheduling? The Latern videos look like it’s a very portable device that may not always be connected to a dish. So, I think it would make sense.

cheers,
glenn

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Hey Glenn. You clearly know what you’re talking about. Would you mind dropping me a line: [email protected]

Hello
I am have degree (BSc)on Network and Mobile Computing and Master’s Degree on Digital Forensic (MSc), pleased and excited about outernet project and would like to help ,and be able to offer support in working voluntarily in the UK, Africa and wider world ,and ready available to take part.

With regards
I Ahamed

Hello @Ahamed. Thanks for your interest. It would be great if you could build a Raspberry Pi-based receiver and report any difficulties you have.

Hello,

I’m a Msc student in a related topic (cubesats).

Is the project hardware opensource? More specific the Lantern SDR receiver. (http://blog.outernet.is/update-on-lantern-hardware/).

Why not have all of this development (hw and sw) opensourced in a github repo?

Many developers (me included) would like to contribute.

Best regards,

Mario

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If I know well, the existing outernet receiver versions dont use rtl-sdr receiver.
At least, the DIY version dont use, there are some DVB-S2 usb receiver for this purposes. In the first, official, test version, Pillar, it seems, it has similar DVB-S2 recever, but we dont know exactly what type is it, but it is shure, it is not a DVB-T-type.
You can examine the picture here:
http://pillar.outernet.is/
It seems me, use an rtl-sdr receiver at outerenet is a separate project, founded at Oct 21, 2014, it has it own github space, but contains not too much info.
https://github.com/Outernet-Project/RTL-LNB
It seems, it was started by Kyle Keen, who is the author of the rtl-sdr tool, rtl_fm receiver. Here is his web page:
http://kmkeen.com/rtl-demod-guide/
and he wrote now the update blog: http://blog.outernet.is/update-on-lantern-hardware/

If I understand, there is two way to use the rtl-sdr as a receiver at outernet hw:

  • in the github page there is a link to receive signals from direct-broadcast sats with rtl_sdr and a cheap LNB, down converter.
  • in the Kyle,s new blog it seems, he try to improove the existing RafaelMicro rtl-sdr dongle, to receive around/max 2175 MHz.
    Maybe, it would be better than the famous, well know Elonics tuners produce.

To develop such a rtpl-sdr based receiver will be important, if the planed cubesat-based broadcast start. We dont know too much technical details about the Clyde Space plans, but it is shure, this cubesats will not use the microwave bands, and DVB-S standards, as regularly used on dicerct broadcast satellites.
If you are involves in the developent of cubesat, maybe this direction would be interesting for you.
t.janos

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@tjanos @mariobaldini

You should check out this thread & This one

The company who Outernet contract to do the conversion of the data into a Mpeg stream and upload it to the satellite, have a proprietary system. Outernet seem happy with this, despite the objections raised in the above threads. It means the code in the lantern is closed, with no obvious way (to me anyway) of replacing it with open code once the devices are in the field.

Seems to me something like FLAMP to broadcast AMP would have done the job, but it’s not the route they have chosen.

I have some “impressions” about the refferred threads. But I can say, I dont have too much motivations to participate in the discussions.
I see this project, as a new way to use the broadcast satellite (tv) channels, as an accessible resources to realize a cheap, if possible free to access contents of parts the internet.
The satellite tv is a big business, its owners have they own rules, if you want to participate (buy/use their products) you must pay and accept their dictated rules in the contracts. On another point of view, if you are thinking to build a free/two way internet-like network, based on the one way broadcast channels you havenot too much choice. This are the frames in economically and technically. But if you accept this frames, you have some free space, where you can realize your ideas, dreams, if you have any.

If I understand well, the reffered AMP is a modified version of the Multicast protocol more usable on amateur radio channels. The FLAMP is a program, to implement this in different radio amateur modulation modes. I think, these are nice things, but dont think, there are usefull on broadcast satellite channels.
Another topic is to use small cubesats as carriers to broadcast internet contents. But for me, first of all, it is interesting as a technical experiment.
And the choice the modulations, the type of network protocolls on this cubesats are in the hands of the cubesat developers.

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@tjanos Outernet is going to be using L band & UHF in addition to the TV channel stuff.

AMP is a protocol that works over radio carrier signals. I think it would work over the UHF signal broadcast by satellites.

As I understand it Outernet are cube sat developers, so choice of protocol would rest with them

No, Outernet itself is not a cubesat developer. We’re working with Clyde Space to develop three 1U cubesats that will transmit over UHF: http://www.clyde-space.com/news/417_clyde-space-wins-1m-outernet-contract

To be clear, we did not receive any of that funding–it all went to Clyde Space (though we do receive three cubesats at the end of the project).

Are they producing ground stations for you too?

No, they are not.

Is there anywhere that we can see the specs for the birds?

We don’t have any specs we can share just yet, but possibly in the coming months.