Lynk official: ‘We’ve solved the uplink challenge’ for LEO satellite-to-phone connectivity
Cell-tower-in-space connectivity provider Lynk Global yesterday announced that it has proven that its low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite-to-unmodified-cell-phone technology support two-way communications—a finding that could prove significant for the public-safety and critical-communications sectors.
“This month, Lynk proved out two-way communications capability,” Lynk COO Margot Deckard said yesterday during a session at the IWCE 2021 conference in Las Vegas. “We’ve repeatedly completed registration for hundreds of handsets in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Bahamas. We’ve also completed the registration process in the parking lot at Lynk headquarters in Falls Church, Va., and in the Loudon suburbs.
“So, we’ve solved the uplink challenge, and we’ve done it in very noisy environments.”
Indeed, Lynk conducted tests in Virginia at one of the busiest times of the day—just as schools let out and students typically use their wireless devices to contact parents and friends, Deckard said.
Traditional satellite providers utilize their own licensed spectrum that typically in frequency bands that are much higher than those used in LMR and commercial cellular networks. But Lynk’s model is to partner with a commercial mobile network operator (MNO) and use that carrier’s sub-1 GHz spectrum to support roaming via Lynk’s cell-tower-in-space technology.
In addition to demonstrating the ability for Lynk to work in noisy environments, the test showed that Lynk does not interfere with signals in nearby spectrum bands, according to Deckard.
“We’re required to coordinate with all of the MNOs that didn’t loan us spectrum to test,” she said. “So, all of the big MNOs—like Verizon and AT&T—they follow very closely our testing schedule. They’ve tested for interference and found no interference issues.”
A former paramedic and firefighter, Deckard said she recognizes the potential impact that Lynk’s technology could have on a first-responder community that is searching constantly for resilient communications and greater coverage.
“We’re resilient backup communications that aren’t vulnerable to terrestrial degradation—we don’t melt in a fire, and we don’t blow down in a high-wind environment,” Deckard said.
“With the Lynk system, there won’t be coverage gaps when you’re fighting fires out West. You’ll know where your first-responders are and where those assets are.”