Life for researchers in the Arctic has gotten a little bit more convenient with the recent arrival of high-speed internet connections, a first for the region.
The connections comes from tech startup Kepler, which operates two specially designed satellites in the region that deliver connections that are more than a hundred times faster than previously available.
Kepler announced it had delivered verified speeds of 120 Mbps uplink and 38 Mbps downlink to the German research vessel Polarstern.
Arctic researchers with the MOSAiC expedition (pictured above) will have access to high-speed internet for the first time ever, thanks to new satellite technology from Kepler
Polarstern is home to the expedition MOSAiC, a year-long project to gather data about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.
The expedition is staffed by hundreds of researchers from 19 countries.
Using the high-speed data connection will allow the MOSAiC researcher to transfer data from the ship to research stations on shore and, according to a statement from Kepler, improving their ability ‘to share, analyze, and disseminate information.’
The internet access is delivered via two low-Earth orbit satellites that are in orbit around the Arctic and provide constant coverage and provide speeds that are more than a hundred times faster than what would otherwise be available.
The year-long MOSAiC expedition is taking place on the German ship Polestern (pictured above, left), which passed by a Russian research vessel in October
‘The high polar regions are the last frontiers of the globe where high bandwidth data connections could not be established so far,’ MOSAiC researcher Markus Rex said in a statement.
‘Kepler’s new Global Data Service now enables us to send back bulk data, including key data files for monitoring the status of instruments together with experts at home. This will contribute to the success of MOSAiC.’
There have been numerous attempts to deliver high-speed internet access to the Arctic, but logistical issues have previously proven too costly.
Entrepreneur Elizabeth Pierce raised more than $250 million to fund a transArctic cable to deliver high-speed internet to the region and other remote locations, including Greenland, Alaska and parts of Japan.
Pierce later pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identiy theft, after it was discovered she had forged signatures on many of the contracts used to secure funding for the project.
HOW DOES SATELLITE INTERNET WORK?
An internet service provider converts an internet signal into radio waves.
The radio waves are then sent from a large gateway antenna to a satellite in orbit around the Earth.
The satellite relays that radio wave signal to a small satellite dish installed at the home or place of business.
That small satellite dish then converts the radio waves to a usable internet signal that’s sent to a modem in the home or office.
The modem distributes that internet signal to a router, which makes the internet feed available to multiple local devices, either wirelessly or through Ethernet.
Devices can also be connected directly to the modem.
Satellite internet access uses radiowaves to send data to satellites in orbit over the earth and then back down to customers in remote locations
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