can 2.4GHz even penetrate the atmosphere efficiently?
repost from a user on reddit, so this question doesn’t get buried: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/1wqgmh/outernet_wifi_for_the_world_from_outer_space/cf4uwoq
Assume cost isn’t an issue, and you get clearance to deploy and you somehow solve the problem of providing high power output from the LEO AP long-term, and don’t worry about overloading a ‘channel’ with traffic, noise, etc…
Even if you get a 50W output at 2.4Ghz (50dB) the FSPL even through JUST our atmosphere (being generous let’s say 15km), there will be nothing left, no signal, from a 50W/50dB output from the satellite to the ground. That’s NOTHING to say of the inability of a low power phone or laptop to be able to transmit back up. Even using high gain atennas, there’s just nothing left of that spectrum to use at 500km altitude. And -90 is a pipe dream at the 2.4Ghz spectrum, and while 5Ghz usually is ‘cleaner’, the propagation characteristics are half as much as the 2.4GHz (generally speaking). Finally, latency will kill/diminish any real use when you are using CSMA/CA for collision avoidance of the 802.11spec.
I applaud the effort, but it’s just not tenable IMHO without some specialized equipment on the ground, as well as overcoming some significant hurdles on the LEO AP side of the house.