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I just saw the news item in Lightwave's online website: Laser Light to leverage free-space optics in space for Optical Satellite as a Service.

All Optical Hybrid Global Network (or HALO, as laser Light calls it)

That's great - space and optics are made for each other - like coffee and coffee cups.

But after looking closely, I believe they are claiming to plan to use optical links from MEO to surface as well. Can this be possible?

  1. what kind of laser power and transmitting aperture would a satellite in MEO need to maintain a low BER 100-Gbps link to a receiver on earth that didn't look like the Hale telescope on Mt. Palomar?
  2. what about clouds?

Laser Light Communications (US) and its affiliate firm, Laser Light Global, Ltd. (UK) has selected Equinix, Inc. (NASDAQ: EQIX) as its strategic interconnection provider for a network that will combine spaced-based optics and terrestrial fiber-optic network infrastructure to create an Optical Satellite as a Service (OSaaS) offering it calls SpaceCable. The resulting All Optical Hybrid Global Network (or HALO, as laser Light calls it) will offer 100-Gbps connectivity to carriers, enterprises, and government customers via Equinix facilities.

enter image description here

above: Graphic from The Speed of Light: Laser Light and Optus Explain Optical Communications Partnership to Via Satellite Magazine

It continues...

According to the company's website, Laser Light will leverage 8 to 12 satellites in medium Earth orbit to create a network that will offer an initial service capacity of 7.2 Tbps. The satellites will pass signals among themselves and to the ground via free-space optics. The space interconnections will include 48 links of 200 Gbps apiece, as well as 72 steerable up/down links to Earth at 100 Gbps. (my emphasis)

The satellites and terrestrial network should be ready sometime in 2018, according to information on the company's website.

Additional discussion can be found here.

related question: Characteristics of the inter-satellite optical link, also see this and this answer to my previous question.

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding cloud, the page says "Laser Light says it will leverage software-defined networking (SDN) technology to fully leverage the network's spatial diversity for alternative routing to achieve the lowest latency as well as select route options to circumvent any changing atmospheric conditions the satellite transmissions may encounter." I think that means they just route through the best available ground station. $\endgroup$ – Andy Oct 13 '16 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Andy ok that actually makes sense - in the sense that I understand what you mean (not advocating the business model yet). If all the world-wide ground stations actually ended up in southern California, it just might work! This reminds me of the problem with solar power - it's wonderful but it's not steady, and markets like energy and bandwidth like steady, or at the least regular and periodic. It's hard to store solar energy for later use, but it's even harder to "store bandwidth". If you find out more please consider posting an answer! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 13 '16 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Andy I've found some additional explanations here:satellitetoday.com/technology/2014/07/07/… $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 13 '16 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Andy there is more helpful information in both of the answers to this question. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 13 '16 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Is the question still about aperture and power required? (Respectful hint: - this question is about ten times longer than it needs to be in my opinion.) $\endgroup$ – Andy Oct 13 '16 at 16:39

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