• OneWeb aims to provide global internet connectivity to remote areas through 648 satellites in low Earth orbit.
  • It offers affordable high-speed internet access, overcoming limitations of wired infrastructure and disruptions caused by disasters.
  • This technology empowers businesses and communities, bridging the digital divide and fostering progress worldwide.

In January 2015, Elon Musk shook the internet with an announcement that we didn’t know that was possible but gave us new hope. The project name was Starlink, but it meant development and hope for underdeveloped, developing countries. Starlink promised internet connectivity on a global level which was a dream for millions of people.

There are countries, states, and villages where the internet is still a myth. It’s hard to swallow, but it is true. There are villages in India, Africa, and other underdeveloped and developing countries where the internet is still a far fetched imagination, and electricity is a luxury. But we have come so far, but can not deny that there are places where this harsh truth is still a reality.

What is Oneweb?

Today we are going to talk about Oneweb, a friendly neighbor of Starling who is the child of Greg Wyler. He is the one who started OneWeb. Hailing from an engineer background he has worked for companies like Motorola and Iridium. Before OneWeb, Wyler created O3b Networks, which helps people in remote places get fast internet. He loves satellites and wants everyone to be able to connect to the internet, so he decided to start OneWeb.

OneWeb is a company that wants to build a network of satellites to provide internet access to people in remote areas. They have offices in London, Virginia, and Florida. Initially, the company used to be called WorldVu Satellites Ltd.

They are working with Airbus to build satellites that would provide internet access to people worldwide, even in remote places. These satellites will fly around the Earth and connect to antennas on the ground, allowing people to access the internet quickly and affordably. They are working hard to finish launching all the satellites by March 2023 so that everyone can start using the service later in the year.

OneWeb a Technical wonder

Satellite Constellation: OneWeb's satellite communications network consists of 648 satellites. These satellites are carefully synchronized and orbit the Earth in 12 orbital planes at an altitude of 1,200km in low Earth orbit (LEO).

Initially, the constellation was planned to have 648 satellites. Still, the company has amended its application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the number to 6,372 for its Phase Two constellation so they can provide better connectivity for any area possible.

Connectivity and Speed: Each satellite in the constellation is capable of connecting seamlessly to user terminals (antennas) and the ground network below. They transmit data in real-time and at high speed as they fly. OneWeb's satellite network is designed to deliver affordable and fast services, with the capability to connect to 5G, 6G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) future.

Coverage and Latency: OneWeb's satellite network aims to provide global coverage, reaching even remote and underserved areas. The network is designed to offer connectivity everywhere, enabling businesses and communities to achieve their potential and improve access to information worldwide. The network is capable of delivering internet speeds of up to 1Gbps with a latency of 30ms or less

Completion Timeline: As of January 2023, OneWeb has launched 544 satellites, with 542 being functional. The company plans to complete the constellation by the end of March 2023.

Why do we need this Technology?

Current Infrastructure: The current infrastructure for internet connectivity relies on wired broadband an example is fibre optic cables which have also been accessible to developing countries pretty recently. And this infrastructure of wired networks is very expensive to lay and maintain.

With this, wired broadband is limited to the area where the infrastructure is accessible, leaving remote areas and underserved areas without reliable internet connectivity. Because this method relies on wires, the wish has to be in all the areas where there is a need for an internet connection. It is vulnerable to natural disasters or other catastrophic events, leading the downtime and loss of connectivity.

Oneweb’s Satellite network provides internet coverage on a global level reaching. The satellites are situated in Low Earth orbit and transmit signals that get received on the ground with the help of Terminals (Antennas). Because of the Low Earth orbit, Oneweb’s network latency is low and delivers a high speed of up to Gbps, which makes it better than SpaceX’s Starlink as they provide 300Mbps.

Starlink is directed towards household consumers, and OneWeb is directed towards businesses and enterprises. That’s why they have healthy competition between them.

In this digital age of this fast-paced world, which is seeing advanced innovation on a daily basis, there are still areas that are unable to see those advancements. As a citizen of a developing country and belonging to a small town, I have seen with my own eyes how the internet is changing lives for the betterment of society.

But now it’s time for an upgrade as it’s taking a lot of time and energy. This new technology can make it audible to all as soon as possible and that’s the change I want to see. Do you want to see it as well?

Edited by Shruti Thapa