Meanwhile, on a Wi-Fi network far, far away…
In Star Wars, as in many other science fiction tales, messages between people across an entire galaxy are delivered with the ease and speed of a cell phone call (unless the messages are holograms loaded into a droid, of course).
Paying homage to this sci-fi nuance, we explore the question, “how close are we to galactic communications?”
Today, the delay for radio signals reaching Earth from Mars is around 14 minutes – not the greatest for interplanetary videoconferences – not to mention that it would provide dismal Wi-Fi connections – or should we say, “access to the Darth Web.”
Recent technology has certainly made communication between people on our own planet feel more like science fiction. With a broadband Wi-Fi or strong cell connection, most people can video conference with their smart phones with almost no signal lag.
The geographic and technological barriers to finding a good connection are falling away – and today you can rely on Thales to make communications happen anywhere, anytime to keep you connected. This includes connectivity when you fly to providing critical communications at sea, we make sure you are connected wherever you want to be.
Networks carried by the latest generation of satellites, such as those in Iridium NEXT, a constellation built by Thales Alenia Space, carry broadband signals that are highly resistant to disruption, and offer reliable connectivity regardless of terrain, weather or location – including the poles.
This type of network also relies on far fewer ground systems, and when you think about the challenges of connecting a celestial body that is far away, with no native inhabitants, installing ground-based infrastructure is not necessarily the best option. So, does that mean we’ve found the solution for getting Wi-Fi on the moon – or even Mars? Probably not, but this model for creating space-based infrastructure could be a promising one for just such a mission.
With NASA and its private sector partners determined to get people to Mars in the not-too-distant future, surely they are looking at how to improve communications – and besides life support, it’s likely that an astronaut’s wish list would include Wi-Fi.
And if a threat ever reaches us from a galaxy far, far away, reliable Wi-Fi will become a critical defense and security capability. We must anticipate that at some point the Empire will focus less on kinetic weapons and more on cyberattacks.
Obviously, we need to be prepared, but we probably have time – at least until the sequel.