Lantern Technical Clarification

I’m new here but I’ve been following the forums a bit and I’m really excited about what this could become. Looks like an awesome community, I’m impressed with the concept, and I’m sure the technology is there but up to now marketing hasn’t been 100% clear on what will be available and what it will be capable of doing.

My understanding is that the current plan is to have 2 MB per day automatically download to the lantern via satellite no matter where you are in the world and without having to do anything (it just sits there and receives all the time). Additionally, it looks like a dish of some kind can plug into the lantern and allow for a faster download speed. Is that correct? Will the lantern be able to have a wired connection to a device as well as wifi? Are there plans to have wifi devices like phones be able to directly receive a satellite signal? Between three videos we see a dish concept, the lantern, and something that plugs into a phone so I don’t know what to think of the product lineup. Lastly, if someone could explain the ways the lantern can get data that would help a lot. Can it also receive from ground towers?

Sorry to be so confused but I’ve invested a lot of effort and I’m eager to tell people about this but the technical details have been very unclear. I’m big into tech but unsure of satellite broadcast capabilities. I realize all details aren’t set yet but I think the community could use a solid definition of the planned capabilities and services these devices will offer.

Just found this about the device that plugs into a phone (towards the bottom)

First, welcome to the forum! We all like outernet a lot too. It can be a little unclear what the different parts are about, so let me break it down according to my level of understanding.

First, the locations it’s available depend on coverage, but I believe that has been taken care of so that is true for a large portion of the world. Second, receiving is a mode of operation, like the wifi broadcast. Charging will be possible via wall and solar I believe so the only limitation on how long the lantern is on is power.

Yep. I believe it uses the same setup as the pillar.

Not sure on this point. @branko may know more.

That sounds like an accurate description of the product line.

This has been covered here in the forums. Not too sure about that end of things myself.

No need to apologize. The concepts at play for outermet have taken some explaining for me to comprehend as well.,

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edit: updated this paragraph to be more correct (again)
Ok so to recap there’s the Lantern which is the cool looking satellite/ground receiver flagship piece of hardware that they intend to produce and distribute worldwide, then there’s the Pillar that is a separate product with a hard drive and wifi capabilities just like the lantern but with a faster satellite connection, and finally in the future they think a plug in device will allow ground stations to send info to phones, albeit at a much slower rate. Additionally plans for a DIY mobile receiver (a DIY Lantern) are in the works and DIY high-speed receivers are already buildable. Then there’s the foldable dish shown at the beginning of this video (I’m gonna call it a Scoll) that I assume is the mid-range product between Lantern and Pillar capabilities. A Lantern will be able to have a third-party dish attached to make it nearly as capable (faster data because the dish allows reception of a different, faster band) as a Pillar device. Ground broadcast methods will be utilized to obtain even faster data transmission rates. The Lantern will be capable of receiving ground signals but I have no idea about the other devices. Apparently it’s already possible to receive a signal from the two satellites that Outernet is currently using (not their own, one’s that were already in orbit). Lastly here’s the interface mockup of what it will look like when you connect a device to a working Lantern.

A couple things I’m still unclear about:

  • Can a lantern with no dish connected receive from a satellite? update: yes, that’s the plan

  • Are the satellites going to broadcast actual wifi or is it some other band? if it’s wifi is there hope for a direct satellite-to-phone/computer wifi connection (without peripherals) or is that just crazy talk? update: maybe possible(?) but no plans for this now, at least not without a jack

No, pillar is separate from lantern, but lantern can get the pillar signal with a similar dish.

I believe everything is satellite based, and ground repeaters are purely optional and not a specific goal of outernet.

No two way communication without a high gain antennae. And phone reception is less of an issue, it would be similar to lantern except with a plug-in.

Thanks, fixed my recap.

I mean just a one way broadcast over wifi from satellite to phone/computer. It would be great if no special hardware was needed at all and any wifi-enabled device could receive the satellite broadcast data. I think this would be difficult or costly but then again I have no idea.

Also, will there be a way for a Pillar and a Lantern to connect (cable or wifi) and benefit in some way? I’m not sure what it would do but I’ve envisioned these devices being complementary somehow. Maybe they could connect if they were close enough and share data so that they’re both kept up to date. Or multiple pillars could talk to each other wirelessly and and realize that only one needs to download the data so the rest can save power and receive the data faster over wifi. I like the idea of hubs and mesh network type features although I’m sure it would be difficult to implement.

I don’t think that’s a specific feature, but worth adding to the list of requests.

How is the Lantern possibly going to get the core archive? I imagine it will be a hefty chunk of data. Will the core download slowly or come pre-installed on the Lantern?

Lantern operates on a seperate channel from pillar by default, so there will be a few sets of ‘core’ archives.

I wonder if that means the Pillar will have all the data the Lantern gets and then some. It probably means totally different worlds of content though since the Pillar will supposedly have multimedia whereas the Lantern is strictly text. It’s strange to me for there to be two sizes of what’s supposed to be a core archive. I’d say if it won’t cause logistics problems just ship both devices with the core already saved. I don’t see why that couldn’t be done

Any ideas of either of the core sizes? MBs? GBs?

Technically, if you plug an LNB into Lantern, it’ll be as capable as Pillar. The type of content you receive is not determined by the device but by the kind of radio waves you are receiving (satellite broadcast typically has much higher bandwidth than short wave, for instance).

Content will definitely come pre-installed on all Outernet-branded products.

We’re currently looking for a low-cost source of Atheros wifi modules. These modules support mesh networking, which seems to be what you are describing.