Technical specifications

This sounds like an interesting project if it is possible, but off the top of my head I can’t think of any way this would even remotely be possible. Since you are already promoting your project, and supposedly have completed a technical assessment, you must have figured out a way of doing this, are the specifications for this private? or have I just not been able to find them? or is all you really have a fancy webpage and the idea “datacasting + UDP + cubesats?”

On the frontpage it lists “Phase 1 Technical Assessment” as having been done last year. I have not been able to find any report or any other reference to this assessment at all. Has this technical assessment been done? If so, what are the results from this assessment? Can we read it or is it private?


The obligatory disclaimer: These are not views and opinions of Outernet Inc, etc etc. Also, I’m not the hardware guy, so I can’t really tell you much abotu the hardware. What I can tell you is about the homepage, and about the parts of the project schedule that I’m directly involved in.

First something that is my job: the homepage. It was only good for the initial intro, and we are aware that it doesn’t provide much. We are currently working on a better site that will have a better chance of supplying the information people are looking for, and also a steady stream of updates in blog format. We are also looking for someone to manage the content and public communications, so if you know someone, please send them our way. :smile:

Now for the parts I am somewhat involved in.

Technical assessment of the Phase 1 was indeed completed last year. I haven’t seen any documentation myself, but I do believe those are private right now. Some of our designs will be open-source, so there is definitely a plan to have them released at some point, though.

In the long run, we are still ultimately targeting what the homepage says: ability to be accessed by consumer devices directly. Whether that’s going to be WiFi or something else is being debated with plenty of useful feedback we’ve got from you guys (thanks!) after the initial assessment.

During this summer, we will be testing with prototypes and makeshift equipment to (re)asses:

  1. The type of equipment required to get optimal reception on the ground
  2. The requirements for production hardware for receiving the signal
  3. The requirements for production setup for broadcasting the content

Hopefully, the main site will be completely overhauled by the time we start this test so we can publish a steady stream of updates as we go about it.

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I’m sorry, but to me that just reeks of scam, or at best vaporware.

You are trying to do something that is seemingly impossible, and collecting donations for this. Yet people who are seemingly active volunteer members (branko) do not have access to any technical details, and aren’t even sure if any such details exist at all. That to me is very suspicious.

Are there any legitimate reasons for keeping details of this project secret?

An open project for the good of the world would surely benefit from being open, and thereby allowing as much user input as possible.

On the website, I did not criticize it all. I think it’s a very good looking website. But this just fuels my concern. Having a nice website but no product is a common theme for scammers.

Seb, I’m an employee, not a volunteer. Sorry if I’ve led you to believe I have nothing to do with Outernet Inc. I just wanted to make it clear I’m not the official voice of Outernet, and I’m not paid to talk about it in the forum. I just do that in my own name in my own time.

So, back to the original topic. Let me try to put this into perspective. SES published a news release about ther IP>LNB product. AFAIK, it was released before they actually made a demo of the product (which they eventually did). The release says, among other things:

This press release contains “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements concerning or implying future financial performance or trends and growth opportunities affecting MaxLinear, in particular statements relating to the MxL584 Full-Spectrum Capture™ DVB-S2 receiver and its use in IP-LNBs. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. -

Coming up with such statement is clearly not something done by your average engineer or manager. You have to have staff to think about such things and preempt any chance of embarrassment or poor communication. We currently don’t have the staff to deal with these issues, and therefore we don’t want to mislead the public by publishing ill-formulated documents online.

Even a few poorly worded sentences on our original homepage already gave birth to the notion that we’d be launching free WiFi hotspots into air, which is completely wrong, but many people do believe it (including, unfortunately, some journalists).

So for better or worse, silence is currently considered better than disinformation.

Since we’re knee-deep into this discussion, and as homework for our future marcom person, do you have suggestions for the kind of information and level of detail that would provide good (and possibly entertaining) read without distracting too much from the point? Something that you’d personally be interested in reading?

Dear Branko,

I also wonder why there is no technical specification made public.

Contributing to any technical discussion will be near to impossible if there is not some documented baseline. We’d be happy to contribute with DTN/smallsat/protocol/DVB-S2 knowledge and activities, and possibly even in-orbit assets, but there is no basis to build upon.

We would also be interested to understand the regulatory analysis w.r.t. ITU filings.

Looking forward to some real specs.


I absolutely agree. I’ve raised the issue with our team, and we agree there is a problem. We’ll see how we can solve this as soon as possible. I’ll keep you all posted.

Here’s a small update on this issue. I took the time to obtain and look at the documents and I assure you that we have them. The team took the time to discuss the issue of documentation disclosure a few times since my last posting here.

Here’s more on the problem we are trying to solve now: Outernet Inc is collaborating with various companies from the field and some of the documentation is covered by NDAs (hooray!), so I can’t just post them here. On top of that, until May this year, a regulation called ITAR was covering satellite-related technology classifying them as munitions, which made things worse, and now that things have changed (IANAL, so I don’t know if it’s for better or worse), companies have still not adjusted fully… or at least that’s my understanding of the situation. It’s truly ironic that we talk about freeing information and then find ourselves unable to free our own info because of legal issues, but there you have it. Not much we can do about that.

Having said all that, the good news is that there are and/or will be a few things that can safely be released, and Thane, our communications lead is looking into getting them to your hands, probably though the newsletter. I’m not sure when and what, but I think by Aug 8 you’ll have something tangible, and possibly even before that.

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munitions is fake laws itar is not true, is post all information what is anything say you a “criminal” and “justice secret”, you still public a “secret of justice” and say all world and the hack help you and the hack pay to kill judge and prosecutor

Branko, I’ve searched and found nothing in the way of product specs yet. Perhaps I’m just not looking in the right places. Can you direct me to that, if it exists?
I’m interested in what the actual lantern hardware will likely include, such as USB interconnectivity to external storage devices besides the SD, how much internal digital storage media is included, what the wattage consumption is projected to be (I understand that the passive/active power consumption curve is about 3:1), what type of power cell does the Lantern use, Li-ion?.
I imagine some of those characteristics still aren’t set in stone… I’m just trying to get an idea of how widespread the product’s usage could be.

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