In Japan, where internet speeds are already the fastest in the world, plans are underway to launch new satellites that will provide data transmissions at the speed of light. The speeds will be 10 times faster than current speeds, allowing users to download an entire movie in just 0.2 seconds, or an entire TV series in three seconds flat. If this experiment succeeds, it could pave the way for much faster internet speeds around the world. Let’s look at how this flying internet will work and its potential impact on society and culture. Why Japan’s Flying Internet Speeds Are out of This World
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The history of Japanese high-speed internet
In 2003, NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) Corporation, one of Japan’s largest telecommunications companies, started installing a wireless broadband internet service in metropolitan areas. They were able to transmit data at 250 megabits per second (Mbps), which was unheard of at that time for mobile devices. And to top it off, it covered an area with a radius up to 40 km, which is approximately equal to Tokyo Station. The project was called FLET’S or Freedom for Location-Free Life and Entertainment at Telecommunication Stations . . . but most people just called it Fireball or Starfire.
The future possibilities of high-speed connection in Japan
_________? _____________. What do you think would change in your life if you had high-speed internet connection in your house? How much do you imagine that it will be for one month? High-speed Internet access is now being considered as a feasible option to connect rural homes with up to _______ GB. These high-speed broadband plans will allow customers to download large data files from server providers without losing any time and at a cheaper cost than what they normally pay for slower connections. More so,
if people are now able to do online banking and financial transactions on a super-fast Internet connection, it would help them save more time—and money.
Accessing the networks
Although most people in developed countries can get fast, broadband internet access, it’s not always available or affordable to everyone. Some new companies are trying to bring cheap, high-speed internet access to rural areas that don’t have connections and/or can’t afford wired services. One example is Japanese company Access Technology Services (ATS), which uses solar-powered unmanned drones called White Heron UAVs to deliver 4G LTE wireless signals at speeds of up to 150 megabits per second. ATS launched a demonstration flight in February 2017 and plans more tests in partnership with Japanese telecommunications company NTT Docomo throughout 2017 and 2018.
Benefits for consumers
For example, according to a TeleGeography report, more than two-thirds of broadband connections (at both fixed and mobile operators) have data caps in place. This also keeps costs down for ISPs and encourages users to stream video at times when bandwidth is less congested. The future: The ongoing project to create a Pacific fiber cable that stretches from Oregon in the US to Kagoshima in Japan has set about trying to solve many of these issues. Costing around $300 million, it will be capable of supporting 160Tbps and could cut latencies from 500ms on existing links to 50ms or even lower.
4G + Satellite (LTE-B)
Okay, so 4G isn’t fast enough. Neither is 3G or 2G or even 1G. Is there an end in sight? Maybe there is. Enter LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B), a system that essentially enables wireless internet to travel through space, transmitting 4K video across city streets and into homes and businesses. Okay, well maybe not space as in outer space but more like satellites—specifically Japanese ones with speeds that are literally out of this world (127,500 GB per second). Now you know why Japan is setting up a new global standard for communications technology: there’s no place like home when it comes to fast internet!
The cost for high-speed internet is no joke. The major ISP that provides high-speed internet to most regions in Japan, So-net, charges ¥7,935 (about $68) per month for 1GB/s and another ¥2,985 (around $27) if you want unlimited connections at that speed. Most people can’t afford or aren’t willing to pay those prices. You can usually shave off a few thousand dollars by signing up with a smaller ISP as well. However, if you’re trying to start a business or use it on an intensive basis — like someone uploading 4K videos from drones — then there are cheaper options available in countries outside of Japan.
How it Works
First and foremost, some background. All those video streams that you send across data cables are made up of packets, or small bundles of encoded information. Each packet is preceded by a header that contains destination information so that it can be routed to its proper destination. As more and more packets are sent down each fiber-optic cable, they begin to stack up on top of one another in an area known as a buffer. So when transmission speeds fall below peak capacity for any reason—hundreds or thousands more people begin streaming at once—the buffer is quickly filled to capacity and data has nowhere to go.