The Future Of The Internet Is Still With Fibre, As Starlink Satellites Threatens 

There has been a strong national euphoria towards the advent of starlink, a low earth hanging satellite technology that seeks to connect people from almost everywhere across the globe, however  it must be noted that various connectivity methods are best for specific markets and needs.
Millions of Zimbabweans for example who are on mobile devices will not benefit from this fixed internet Access provider as they move around from one point to the other meaning the connectivity solution will only serve the fixed point market.
A fixed satellite receiver equipment will be needed to be mount and this will broadcast Wifi signals that can then be decoded or received by your virous mobile devices
For the same mobile network service providers, they also cannot sustain connectivity over their GSM networks, without the fibre backbone or backhauling the major traffic of various cities, towns or communal areas in Zimbabwe.
Fibre optic is been the most popular network technology since its inception mainly because of its flexibility, agility and scalability to carry an almost infinity data, hence it has been considered the network for the future and an asset for posterity once its installed.
All mobile networks carry their data away to the internet via a fast last mile , which in most cases is fibre, unless if its remote rural areas where microwave or satellites may be used to carry last mile traffic.
To that effect many Internet access providers have been investing in this technology by trenching across towns and cities and connecting nations  via the seas and oceans running across continents into the last mile.
Because fibre is light transmission, it carries an unlimited capacity with little latency issues and  risk to theft as the infrastructure on its own has no lucrative market value, hence increasing its safety rating against possible vandalism.
Once high speed networks have been trenched across cities and towns, millions of data capacity in this day and age can be easily transported from communities, business, homes, industries and factories without any capacity issues, before offloading to the back bone.
Fibre has hence become one of the technology that has stood the test of time for decade plus without yet facing any technological threat to replace, due to capacity issues as data demands increase
Fibre Optic has very high bandwidth speeds of unlimited capacity averaging  1Gbps for broadband services and 10xTbps for transmission running on  (Full duplex), with Very Low latency of up to 20milli seconds, in terms of possible delay
The microwave technology has a full duplex capacity with hundreds of Mbps speeds for broadband and 2Gbps for transmission on the Full duplex. System
In terms of reliability fibre is immune to electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference, lightning strikes, weather, sun amongst other environmental effects.
However, microwave technology is affected by weather and radio frequency interference and when it rains the signals are greatly affected with scalability of up to multiple Giga bits per second while fibre has very high scalability of up to multiple Terabits per second.
Fibre just like microwave, has real time applications that are supported for gaming streaming, Live streaming and broadcasting, Financial trading, industrial automation and robotics, VR&AR, video conferencing & telepresence, online gaming
For Low Earth Orbit technology, where Starlink and other satellites services fall in the same class, they have easy access to citizens or mass markets directly but suffer from serious high traffic assurance, stability  and reliability in various weather environments
Abbreviation Orbit Name Altitude [km]
LEO Low Earth Orbit 160 to 2000
MEO Medium Earth Orbit 2000 to <35786
GSO Geosynchronous Orbit 35786
GEO Geostationary Equatorial Orbit 35786
Advantages and disadvantages
LEO and GEO/GSO are the two extremes when it comes to altitude. LEO satellites are much smaller and their orbits are much closer to earth, so the rockets needed to launch them are also smaller and cheaper. The downside with LEO satellites is that many are needed to cover any specific geographical area. LEO satellites orbit the Earth many times per day, so as each satellite flies over the coverage area, another one must follow behind it, ready to take over the communication once the first satellite has passed the area. This also adds to the network complexity as many ground stations are needed to communicate with all these satellites and they also need to use different frequencies to avoid interfering with each other’s communication. Compare this with a GEO satellite, which is parked in the sky above the area that needs coverage and it will stay there. While GEO satellites are bigger and more expensive to deploy, the network operator can gradually add to their coverage as their business grows.
So why does a company like Globalstar use LEO satellites? LEO is well suited for connecting mobile devices. With a GEO satellite, the antenna needs to be pointed to the satellite. This works great for a TV antenna fixed to a building, but it’s impractical for a satellite phone that you carry in your pocket. All GEO satellites are in orbit above the equator, so as you move towards higher latitudes in places like Canada or Europe, the angle of the antenna gets smaller and smaller. Having to receive a signal from an angle makes the transmission susceptible to interference from obstacles like tall buildings or mountains. The figure below illustrates this.
In fact, GEO satellites only cover about 42% of the Earth’s surface. Globalstar’s LEO devices can typically see and communicate with multiple satellites at the same time, from multiple angles, making the communication more robust. For applications requiring global mobile communication, like disaster relief or maritime operations, LEO is the technology of choice. Lower altitude means a signal takes much less time to travel to the satellite, resulting in a low latency. This is useful for real-time communication such as making voice calls. If you’ve ever tried to speak to someone over a bad VOIP connection, then you know how frustrating a long delay can be.
With this in mind, it’s key to understand why fibre technology remains the most reliable and robust mode for anyone to plan their connectivity future for any serious connectivity demands that need speed, flexibility and scalabity.
Shumirai Nyamadzawo

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