High-speed radio link for astronauts - Earth.comHigh-speed radio link

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the Columbus Ka-band antenna (ColKa), which will be installed on the exterior of Europe’s Columbus laboratory to become part of the International Space Station. High-speed radio link for astronauts as shown in the image above has taken off.

ColKa will provide astronauts and researchers with data speeds of up to 50 mbit/s.

Before the antenna is deployed, the hardware must be tested at the ESA’s technical center in The Netherlands. ColKa is pictured here in the Hertz test chamber.High-speed multimedia radio (HSMM) is the implementation of high-speed wireless TCP/IP data networks over amateur radio frequency allocations using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware such as 802.11 Wi-Fi access points. Also High-speed radio link for astronauts are shown to Improve the NASA.

This is possible because the 802.11 unlicensed frequency bands partially overlap with amateur radio bands and ISM bands in many countries. Only licensed amateur radio operators may legally use amplifiers and high-gain antennas within amateur radio frequencies to increase the power and coverage of an 802.11 signal. The idea behind this implementation is to modify commercial 802.11 equipment for use on licensed Amateur Radio frequencies. The main frequency bands being used for these networks are: 900 MHz (33 cm), 2.4 GHz (13 cm), 3.4 GHz (9 cm), and 5.8 GHz (5 cm) Since the unlicensed 802.11 or Wi-Fi frequency bands overlap with amateur frequencies, only custom firmware is needed to access these licensed frequencies. Such networks can be used for emergency communications for disaster relief operations as well as in everyday amateur radio communications (

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: European Space Agency

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