Is L-Band the future of outernet?

What are the plans for the larger dish based version of Outernet? I was thinking about building a receiver for it, but if the plans going forward are focusing on L-Band then I won’t.

Per Syed Ku band is gone and it’s going all L band.

I guess that makes sense. Costs have to be lower for L-band I assume? L-band should also be somewhat easier to use in less than ideal situations.

I guess. I just got Ku working last week. I think they are distinct use cases. Ku can move heck of a lot more. Neat while it lasted.

@Doug L-band is orders of magnitude more expensive than Ku. The reason is that there are very few L-band operators and only one that provides full global coverage; monopoly pricing in effect. L-band is definitely easier to use since it requires a much smaller antenna that has a 40-degree beam width. If we increase the power (which costs a lot more) then we can make the antenna the same size as a GPS ceramic patch. And this will be even easier to point.

@davidsaintruby They are definitely very distinct use cases. Last summer we were testing a 10Mbps download across all of sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the dish is a real impediment without a really compelling content offering. Yes, there are hundreds of millions of DTH dishes installed all over the world, but all of those dishes provide premium content–or at least dozens/hundreds of channels of video.

We would love to keep the Ku-service running, but the last year has proven that it’s just not that marketable.

Your answer is one I have been wondering about for a long time. It seems like you’re faced with a trade off between higher bandwidth vs larger and more complex ground units. Like the others on this forum, I had assumed that the switch to cut 95% off the transmission speed was driven by a 95% drop in cost to transmit, but apparently it was actually to make the ground unit easier to point at the sky? Could the problem be tackled by building an outernet box that can do something like this:

If the box had a two motor plate and a replacement head so that a direct TV dish could fit it, couldn’t that solve the problem? Or failing that, what about making the search process visual through a connected mobile device to render it manual? It just seems odd to turn a riding lawn mower into a pair of scissors to improve the user interface.
Could you please post the how and why that led from Ku to L band?

The L-band service is far more successful than the Ku service was. The market feedback we received was that portability and ease of installation are king–not to mention the lower cost of a complete receiver.

The dish–even with considerably more content available–was a huge barrier to adoption. We are working on a way to increase download speeds, but it will not include a large antenna.