LightSquared’s GPS-Interference Controversy Comes to a Boil

Cellular wannabe can’t reach a deal with GPS community

4 min read
LightSquared’s GPS-Interference Controversy Comes to a Boil


Photo: Lightsquared
LOFTY GOALS: LightSquared launched a satellite to provide wireless coverage, but the company's terrestrial network is the real problem.

Lightsquared, a Reston, Va.–based provider of satellite communications, intends to start up a new 4G cellular communications network using a portion of the radio spectrum traditionally reserved for mobile-satellite communications. That should be good news to the many U.S. consumers hungry for more bandwidth. The trouble is, LightSquared's cellular base stations could interfere with certain GPS receivers tuned to the adjacent satellite-navigation band.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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