Rider Connectivity Today and Possibilities for the Future: GPS, StarLink and More – Adventure Rider

As riders, we have striking network connectivity choices.

We can update enjoyed ones, navigate precisely, and stay away from challenges with deteriorating weather and road conditions.
Where will the next decade take us?

 Time to dream giant riders. The sky is literally the limit.  First, we’ll review in which we are today, then let’s look at the era on the horizon and at last we can speculate wildly!
A partial map of the information superhighway from 2005 displays with ease how interconnected we are with the number of devices and paths among them expanding constantly.
Internet Connectivity Showing Class C Networks. Endpoints are IP gadgets with lines representing hold up.  (Image: © Creative Commons | The Opte Project)
Today, our cellular telephone phones supply remarkable ride intelligence.  In urban centers, they remove language barriers and aid discover obligatory services.
Programs for navigation supply basic, near-worldwide route mapping.  These applications each have strengths and weaknesses so keeping numerous navigation apps loaded and in a position to go is wise.
Wide area terrestrial telecom coverage for adventure riders improves each and every day but there are many times while we lack LTE coverage.

 Packages such as maps.me and Google Maps supply offline modes wherein previous downloaded maps and the inherent GPS expertise of the tool preserve us found and navigating. Waze is inherently online and is value having for use in traffic given its exact-time updates, slick user interface and for me, visual integration with Spotify.
Here’s a quick assessment of maps.me.  I used this navigation app across the steppes in Mongolia and it continually guided me to my destination even when a couple of similar browsing tracks might fan out toward the horizon. The video is for hiking trails having noted that the comparable applies to obscure tracks in all corners of the globe.
Google Maps is a global standard. Check out  Zac’s fresh article on Google Maps Updated Look.  Oddly, whilst I rode in Morocco Google Maps readily didn’t work, not even in offline mode.  Luckily Waze did work which become a delightful surprise.  Once I had the kit on my telephone, I enjoyed its slick presentation and exact-time updates.  Check it out:
I gloss over the fact that across Asia, Europe and my travels in North Africa buying a SIM card at each and every border is a given. Month-long deals are accessible for the equivalent of 10-20USD.  In Morocco, I pulled into the first gas station off the ferry and coated up for my reasonably-priced virtual tether to the world.
For the real cheapskates out there (of which I am one) each and every MacDonald’s on earth has unfastened Wifi and once you are recognized at one you are usual to all. When I passed via the Baltics I waited until Germany to purchase a SIM card.  It’s excellent to have selections!
For solo riders, who shuttle beyond LTE insurance, nowadays’s alternatives for “always-on” connectivity are satellite-primarily based.  Let’s face it, this is a safety and peace of mind difficulty for ourselves and enjoyed ones at home.  These gadgets variety from low cost basic transmit area plus a pair of status messages (I’m safe, or, Send Help) to costly voice and low files charge satellite hotspots and phones.
At entry-level, there are good choices.  For example, SPOT from Globalstar comes in lower than 150USD equipment cost with annual subscription applications around the comparable 150USD mark. Here’s an overview of SPOT (do a local search for SPOT carrier service per 30 days quotes in your arena).

 I carried this tool and whilst I’d use it to transmit the occasional “I’m OK”  message it became brief and intuitive. The video is a bit goofy however it does deliver a nice evaluate of the tool.

Here is a SPOT insurance map:
Move up the charge/functionality curve and inspect out the Iridium GO which adds a satellite-based hotspot for your cellphone phone.  The Iridium GO device will cost around 700USD with per month plans beginning at 25USD with many choices in how you are expecting to connect and use bandwidth.
Here is the Iridium coverage map.  It is very Global and is getting a lot of recognition in the offshore sailing community.
Iridium Global Connectivity.  Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iridium_Coverage_Animation.gif
When will the cost/performance curve for satellite connectivity cross over into the mainstream personal telecommunications making the aim of in reality worldwide connectivity low charge to adventure riders?

First a review of the technology.

  In his article, Starlink is a Big Deal, Jeffrey Paul offers a excellent abstract of satellite communications those days and how we were given here.  There are some interesting adjustments coming from satellite era.  At the turn of the century investment cuts at NASA pushed area exploration into the deepest sector.
Elon Musk and SpaceX will sling your Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite a few hundred miles into area for a fraction of what it cost a decade ago.  Soon, SpaceX Starlink and others: OneWeb, Amazon Blue Origin, and Telesat Canada, will have efficient constellations of LEO satellites orbiting rather simply a few hundred miles above the earth.
These new LEO constellations won’t be the dreary weather sensors and spy eyes of the past, rather a few are positioning valuable IP routers in space.

LEO constellations cut delay due to a shorter round travel as compared to geosynchronous satellites which orbit at 27,000 miles above us. These LEO routers will also have deep buffers for files and digital sign processor (DSP) based mostly echo cancellers for voice.  Current and previous generations of communications satellites were referred to as “bent pipe”, which means no onboard processing but these next-generation birds are giving businesses like cisco a new marketplace segment.
Back on earth, if adventure riders are to be afforded least expensive, ubiquitous, top bandwidth worldwide connectivity it will first have to work for vehicles.  Connected automobiles can even supply the amount to force charges down.  A few years ago, Toyota, working with Redmond Washington based mostly Kymeta talked approximately the Satellite attached automobile can also be out this decade.  Here’s a news clip from 2017 covering the era.

Toyotas’ stance on the Satellite attached vehicle has softened lately as regulatory realities, generation challenges, and hastily expanding xG LTE insurance create mighty headwinds for innovators like Kymeta.
As we saw earlier, satellite phones exist nowadays.  Iridium devices connect anyplace you are on earth. That global connectivity is based entirely on Iridium’s current constellation of LEO satellites.
But Iridium is still fairly expensive and low bandwidth as compared to LTE.
The enabler for increased bandwidth in satellite verbal exchange is the capability of better frequency radio waves to delivery greater amounts of documents (assuming compression ideas be offering similar innovations across the frequency variety).  Companies like Iridium use relatively low-frequency RF in the 1-2 GHz diversity.  Radio waves in this variety also can be received and transmitted using a basic, omnidirectional (stick) antenna at personal user endpoints.
For higher frequencies and the capability to supply more bandwidth (all other matters being equal) agencies like Kymeta desire to use frequencies anyplace from 10GHz to 40GHz and beyond.  Traditionally, at these better frequencies, devices had to capture the radio waves and attention the energy employing a reflective parabolic satellite dish. These alloy apertures have served as the workhorse of the SATCOM market for many decades.  When you area a parabolic dish on a moving automobile (land, sea or air) then the gimbal mechanism used to stabilize and point the antenna is bulky and expensive.

The picture below is actually for communicating “on the pause”.

Only then can the antenna deploy, acquire and song the satellite.
Vehicle Mounted Satellite Antenna. Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Communications_Response_Vehicle
Next-generation satellite antennas will capture and variety beams of radio waves using flat panels that sense and create (acquire and transmit) energy at varying angles.  This beamforming and steering alleviates the need for parabolic reflectors and mechanical gimbals and permits designers to integrate antennas into flat, upward-facing surfaces.  Mobile telephone technology uses those suggestions in spite of this over relatively quick distances today.  A great review of electronic beamforming used in flat panels is given in this brief video:
The underlying era for flat panel antennas is evolving quickly.  We talked approximately Kymeta who uses LCD technology (comparable as in flat-screen TVs and monitors – a great volume driver).

Other companies like Anokiwave in southern California are arising silicon for antenna developers to create arrays for a variety of markets.  This boutique silicon is plenty like what businesses such as Intel do for phone and computer equipment vendors.
So flat panel generation exists nowadays that can go on the roof of a vehicle and attach that automobile through way of satellite to the web at miraculous files prices (multi Mb/s).

It is expensive and not all the resources are up in area to deliver worldwide LTE like service.

When will the surface offered by a motorbike helmet or gasoline tank be adequate to form a beam to send and receive records to these soon to be program hungry LEO constellations?

My thinking is we are at least a decade away on the other hand I suspect there are ADV inmates closer to this technology than me. It can even be excellent to pay attention your thoughts!  Remember, dream giant, it’s unfastened.

Finally, designers at Apple, staying genuine to kind, will go it by myself on this quest for global access. According to the February 2020 issue of Satellite Mobility World, the Apple mindset may also be offering ubiquitous insurance, albeit at reduced prices, without the want for antenna hardware outside of these days’s telephone package.  Is this the winning mixture for adventure riders?  I for one am rather satisfied to hear that Apple continues to innovate.
What do you think?  Even if you opt for to be completely untethered whilst you are off the grid fellow riders want to know!