Amazon reveals terminal designs for Project Kuiper satellite internet2023-03-15 18:13 by Daniela
Amazon's Project Kuiper has been working on building a competitor to SpaceX's Starlink low-Earth orbit-based satellite internet for years, but it's on the verge of launching its first actual prototype satellites, and today it unveiled what customers can expect in terms of terminals for actually connecting up to the future network.
These are engineering models, so the final production versions may differ, but Amazon showed off three different versions designed to suit various customer needs.
All of these terminals come outfitted with Amazon's in-house baseband chip, nicknamed Prometheus. According to Amazon, the chip "combines the processing power of a 5G modem chip found in modern smartphones, the capability of a cellular base station to handle traffic from thousands of customers at once, and the ability of a microwave backhaul antenna to support powerful point-to-point connection."
The "standard" Kuiper terminal design measures under 11 inches square and 1 inch thick, and weighs under 5 pounds. Amazon says the device will deliver speeds to customers of "up to 400 megabits per second (Mbps)."
An "ultra-compact" model, which Amazon says is its smallest and most affordable, is a 7-inch square design that weighs about 1 pound and will offer speeds up to 100 Mbps. In additional to residential customers, Amazon plans to offer the antenna to government and enterprise customers for services like "ground mobility and internet of things."
Whether customers actually get those speeds in practice will depend on the satellites and how congested the network is in each region, as the experience of SpaceX Starlink customers shows. Amazon didn't differentiate between download and upload speeds in its announcement, but upload speeds are likely to be slower than downloads.
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