Communication Service

How plausible would it be for Outernet to provide a global SMS service?

For example, developers can create a low-bandwidth app that can only send and receive text messages (a sort of slimmed down Whatsapp or Viber).
I think there would be a lot of benefits to this - not only can news/info be easily communicated to anyone but underdeveloped regions would have the ability to communicate with clients/family/friends efficiently on a national and international scale.

Anyway, really love Outernet’s ambitious plan.

Hey @Tripo,
First I would like to say that I’m not in any way related to the OuterNet project in any official/unofficial capacity. I’m a 21 yo who is studying networking/programming and would like to share how plausible it would be given the infrastructure of OuterNet. All computer related networks can be explained through the OSI model, The OSI model is a way of explaining how data across networks flows; there’s a few questions that I have about OuterNets Networking Layer myself… But from an outsiders view of this network, since it can relay data I would assume that an App would be able to communicate an SMS like service. A few things that I would be interested in is whether or not they would have a central addressing book, an XMPP server, or just a direct P2P crypto-enabled service (similar to Android ChatSecure). But that would be decided by the OSI layer 6: Application Layer. :smile:

I don’t think the antenna on the spacecraft would be sensitive enough to pick up signals sent by a mobile device. Sending from space is one thing, but receiving from a consumer handset would be an incredible challenge.

Yea, I guess you would need a satellite phone to be able to communicate with low-earth orbit satellites.

Begs the question though, is it still “internet” when the information only flows one way?

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Well, it’s a start. Simply being able to access a frequently-updated news service from anywhere on Earth would be a pretty big deal.

Nope, it’s not “internet”, which is why it’s Outernet :wink:

This sounds so amazing, everyone is telling me it is probably too good to be true. What would you respond?

Am I understanding correctly that this is a one-way broadcast? Part of the appeal of the internet is the two-way connection and I don’t see how this will ever be done in this scheme?

What jurisdiction will decide what information gets shared over outernet? Kahn academy and Wikipedia-type content will be valuable, but by 2015 most likely be available via cell phones. Add a couple billion users, and it the most value would probably be added by sharing sensitive and controversial information. Thoughts?

And could an oppressive regime (or others) find a rather easy way technically of scrambling the frequency that the satellites use and therefore block the information again?

Thank you.

I don’t deny that this will be a challenge, but it’s all very much within the realm of possibility. The idea of broadcast data is not really new. As a matter of fact, we’re considering prototyping the user experience by leasing transponder time on an existing geostationary satellite.

Our goal is to bridge the information divide as soon as possible. By concentrating on that one problem, we will definitely need to neglect the problem of universal access to the internet. But others are working on that, like Google and Facebook.

I remember DirectPC and SkyWay USA where you would receive from satellite and transmit back via phone line (modem) connection. There was talk of receiving from satellite and transmitting back via cell phone as well. Perhaps there could be a way to implement different types of ways of transmitting the data back even if it is not through the same medium that we receive it especially since it does not take much data at all to send the request packet for the website you want to display.

That is definitely part of the feature set. I remember it wasn’t a great user experience back then, but we’re hoping to a different spin on it.

@tipo yes you’re right it will be more benefits to the users but what will happen to telecommunication companies around the world?? that will the end for them.

If you mean, could Outernet send GSM-compatible messages, then yes, that is technically possible. But there would be many technical challenges for normal phones to receive the message, due to things like Doppler shift. But that’s just the technical challenge. There is also a regulatory challenge because GSM all over the world is in protected frequency ranges, which Outernet can not use. In the event of natural disasters and emergencies, we expect to receive permission from telcos and governments to broadcast messages, but that is very different from what you are describing.

Your idea is great, though. I wish we could offer such a service.

so can you tell me what will be the speed of outernet ? they said that the speed will be slow. because the outernet is for free and will be implemented around the world. so what are the conutries or continent have u targeted so far for testing outernet??? i hope this project will work and more people will be connected together from anywhere around the world.

The speed depends upon the details, but if it’s actually wifi based, the minimum speed possible within the standard is 1.5 Megabits per second using a quarter-channel bandwidth; but that is only one way.