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Starlink teardown reveals how SpaceX keeps its secrets

A new Starlink teardown has revealed fresh details about SpaceX’s satellite internet dish, including how the company prevents its development hardware from being misused. Launched last year, Starlink relies upon both a growing constellation of satellites in orbit around Earth and an auto-positioning dish on the ground that communicates with them.

The satellite network has been a work-in-progress for SpaceX, with multiple launches of its Falcon 9 rockets adding to the mesh. As that happens, gaps in Starlink coverage have been filled, and more users added to the system.

On the ground, Starlink uses a custom satellite dish that links with a special router. Configured using the Starlink app, it’s designed to automatically move so as to keep the constellation overhead at the optimal angle. However, it has also proved to be a source of fascination among those curious to see what Elon Musk’s company have squeezed inside.

One such group is the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) research team at KU Leuven, which acquired a Starlink system when it launched in Belgium at the end of May. Researchers there wasted no time in opening up the dish for a teardown, and then extracting the software for further analysis.

They came across some interesting tidbits along the way, not least the fact that SpaceX has clearly been iterating on its core dish design already. The COSIC Starlink hardware differs from what has been seen in prior teardowns, and there are some differences in connectors. Elon Musk recently said that the company is working on halving the cost of building each Starlink dish, since right now SpaceX is losing money on them.

What’s particularly curious is how SpaceX keeps those development systems from getting out into the wild. “Development hardware is geofenced to only work in certain predefined areas, most of which are clearly SpaceX locations,” COSIC’s Lennert Wouters explains. “SpaceX is likely notified if development hardware is used outside these predefined geofences.”

It’s not the only control on getting too much access to the underlying systems. The software exploration also revealed that SpaceX has prevented users from logging in to the live system, by including a check during boot to see whether the hardware has been fused or not. Consumer dishes are fused before they’re shipped, and so the login prompt is disabled.

While hacking a Starlink dish is probably a bad idea – almost as much as mounting one on the hood of your car, in fact – it’s interesting to see the amount of work that has gone into building the system. It’s certainly cost SpaceX no small amount, with Musk suggesting that it could be $5-10 billion in investment before Starlink is fully cash flow positive. As well as the improvements in the pipeline for the Starlink dishes, currently SpaceX is working on the v1.5 satellites – with laser-based links in-between each satellite – and then the v2.0 update sometime in 2023.

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Things To Know About Starlink And Its Internet Services In Detail

Starlink: The new satellite internet venture of Elon Musk

Most of you might remember

Starlink

Starlink is the network of orbital satellites which is a division with SpaceX, which was developed in 2024, with initial prototype satellites which were launched into orbit in 2023.

Starlink services as of now

As of now, the connection is limited to the northwest US, parts of Canada, and the UK. But this is going to grow very soon in all parts of the world. The coverage is now focused between 45- and 53-degrees north latitude. Musk in an interview at Mobile World Congress early this year said that Starlink will hit worldwide availability except at the North and South Poles starting this August. But in June, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said Starlink would reach global serviceability sometime this fall. He added, “We have successfully deployed 1,800 or so satellites, and once all those satellites reach their operational orbit we will have continuous global coverage so that should be like September”.  

Starlink and its connectivity

Like other internet providers, it also wants to sell its internet access across the globe, especially in rural areas. To avail of the service by just setting up a small satellite dish at your home to receive signals. It also has an app facilitating Android and iOS users to help customers pick the best location and position to receive signals, this is done using augmented reality. As of now, the services are just available in parts of the US, and Canada, but this service is likely to grow and reach more than 10,000 users. The company wants to be the high-speed internet-providing service in the world.  

Speed

The website of the internet company says, “Users can expect to see data speeds varying from 50 to 150 megabits per second and latency from 20 to 40 milliseconds in most locations over the next several months. As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations, and improve our networking software, data speed, latency, and uptime will improve dramatically”. To this, Musk also tweeted in February that he is expecting the service to double its top speed to 300Mbps by the end of 2023. Hope you all got the answer regarding the speed.  

Cost

The cost of the service as of now is $99 per month, plus taxes and fees along with an initial payment of $500 for the mountable

Why satellites and not fiber cable?

Even though fiber-optic cables are much faster than satellites, they can reach people of underserved long before fiber could ever do. The recent FCC filings also suggest that it could result in increasing phone services.  Musk in 2023 said that it could help SpaceX by generating revenue to fund long-held company projects to establish a base on Mars. Shotwell speaking about the company’s vision for Starlink said, “If you send a million people to Mars, you better provide some way for them to communicate. I don’t think the people who go to Mars are going to be satisfied with some terrible, old-fashioned radios, but they will want their iPhones or Androids on Mars”.  

Issues with Starlink’s internet

Ecs Reveals Design For Fully

Regardless of how ASUS’s TUF Sabertooth motherboard sold, the product definitely started a trend, of sorts, one that doesn’t have many adopters but seems to slowly be gaining them, one at a time. The IT player that chose this month to announce its plans for a shrouded platform is Elitegroup Computer Systems, ECS as it is more broadly known. The name of its motherboard is X79R-AX Stealth and seeks to emulate the look and feel of stealth fighter aircraft like the F-117 Nighthawk. The cooling shroud has few cutouts and perforations on the surface, but it does come with vents along the edges, so as not to restrict connectivity capabilities and ventilation. It also required certain concessions, like perpendicular on-board headers (with openings along the edges of the board). That said, the main specifications of the mainboard are, or will be, as follows: an LGA 2011 central processor socket, four DIMM RAM slots (random access memory), three PCI Express slots, two mini PCI Express slots and various networking and peripheral inputs and outputs. The photo doesn’t show the back panel, but we are quite sure Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and multi-channel audio, at the very least, are present. ECS has revealed the X79R-AX Stealth design with the purpose of finding out if there would be buyers should a real product emerge. It is waiting for opinions on its Facebook page, where the picture first appeared. So far, replies have been ambivalent. Setting aside the repeated comparisons to the aforementioned ASUS TUF Sabertooth, there are concerns that the shroud will interfere with cooler and AIB installation (Add-in-Board). In the end, it will probably become a debate on whether or not the extra heat dissipation performance (owed to the hidden heatsinks and heatpipes) is enough to compensate for the narrower selection of compatible components.

Regardless of how ASUS’s TUF Sabertooth motherboard sold, the product definitely started a trend, of sorts, one that doesn’t have many adopters but seems to slowly be gaining them, one at a time. The IT player that chose this month to announce its plans for a shrouded platform is Elitegroup Computer Systems, ECS as it is more broadly known. The name of its motherboard is X79R-AX Stealth and seeks to emulate the look and feel of stealth fighter aircraft like the F-117 Nighthawk. The cooling shroud has few cutouts and perforations on the surface, but it does come with vents along the edges, so as not to restrict connectivity capabilities and ventilation. It also required certain concessions, like perpendicular on-board headers (with openings along the edges of the board). That said, the main specifications of the mainboard are, or will be, as follows: an LGA 2011 central processor socket, four DIMM RAM slots (random access memory), three PCI Express slots, two mini PCI Express slots and various networking and peripheral inputs and outputs. The photo doesn’t show the back panel, but we are quite sure Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and multi-channel audio, at the very least, are present. ECS has revealed the X79R-AX Stealth design with the purpose of finding out if there would be buyers should a real product emerge. It is waiting for opinions on its Facebook page, where the picture first appeared. So far, replies have been ambivalent. Setting aside the repeated comparisons to the aforementioned ASUS TUF Sabertooth, there are concerns that the shroud will interfere with cooler and AIB installation (Add-in-Board). In the end, it will probably become a debate on whether or not the extra heat dissipation performance (owed to the hidden heatsinks and heatpipes) is enough to compensate for the narrower selection of compatible components.

Intel Reveals 22 More 12Th

At CES 2023, Intel answered some of the questions surrounding its “Alder Lake” 12th-gen desktop Core chips, unveiling the remaining 22 processors, the supporting chipsets, and even the coolers that will chill the chips. Intel also unexpectedly launched the 12th-gen “KS” processor, which will run at up to 5.5 GHz.

Intel may have launched its 12th-gen desktop Core CPUs in October, but it did so with just a minimal offering, only three processors or six if you count additional “F” versions with a disabled integrated GPU. On Tuesday, Intel added thirteen mainstream 12th-gen Core processors at CES 2023, with 65W offerings ranging from a Core i9 down to a Celeron processor plus an additional nine “T”-series processors optimized for low-power 35W systems.

Intel launched the new desktop processors at CES 2023 as it readied its mobile 12th-gen Core (Alder Lake) chips alongside it, preparing the market for an Alder Lake attack in both the desktop and notebook space. Tuesday’s announcement provided a bit more context for enthusiasts and DIY consumers interested in researching motherboards and prepping their own systems. Remember, as Intel explained this summer, Alder Lake uses an LGA 1700 socket that’s incompatible with older motherboards.

The CPU manufacturer made the announcements at CES 2023, where the company announced new 12th-gen “Alder Lake” CPUs for laptops, plus an expansion of its Evo platform. Intel also said that it has begun shipping its Arc GPUs, too.

Intel’s new desktop Alder Lake processors

Intel revealed its new Alder Lake desktop processors in a briefing with reporters, hosted by Mandy Mock, vice president of Intel’s Client Computing Group and general manager of its desktop business. They’ll be used for a variety of applications, ranging from mainstream desktops to more specialized devices for retail, manufacturing, and more.

If you look closely at the charts below, you can see that many of the processors such as the Core i5-12600 don’t offer efficiency cores. While they may be 12th-gen Core chips, they don’t offer the performance hybrid architecture that defines Alder Lake. All of the Core i7 and Core i9 chips do, however. This supports Intel’s earlier claims that the efficiency cores are as powerful as its older 8th-gen chips and can be used as “performance” cores when needed.

It sounds like including or excluding efficiency cores will be an option Intel will select when necessary. “We focus on giving the most performance at the top of the SKU stack and then offer options that give the value that end users really want all the way down through this stack,” Mock said in a briefing with reporters. “So, we have a variety of configurations that include different numbers of cores as well as different features from the top to the bottom.”

Intel waited until its keynote address to announce something that doesn’t appear in the slides below: the 12th-gen Core “KS” processor, which Intel Client Computing Group executive vice president Greg Bryant said would ship by the end of the first quarter of 2023. It will run at up to 5.5GHz, running at turbo mode in both single-core and multicore mode. Intel showed the processor running Hitman 3, with all cores above 5.2GHz.

Intel unexpectedly announces the Alder Lake-KS processor.

Intel / YouTube

Intel’s remaining 12th-gen desktop Core processors.

Intel

Intel

Mock explained that Intel’s new Alder Lake socket prompted the company to reinvest in new cooling solutions, too. The older coolers are incompatible with the new socket. According to Intel, the Laminar RH1 cooler (with RGB lighting as well as 2.6 dBA near-silent performance) was designed for the Core i9. Intel believes that the Core i7, i5, and i3 will be paired with the Laminar RM1 cooler (3.9 dBA). The RS1, meanwhile, will be used with the Pentium Gold and Celeron chips at the bottom of the processor lineup. Intel didn’t reveal any standalone pricing.

Though the turbo power of processors like the Core i9 will soar to over 200 watts, PCWorld testing proves that Alder Lake isn’t the power hog these numbers imply.

Intel

Although Intel provided performance data at its Alder Lake launch in October, Intel added some more mainstream comparisons regarding the performance of the Core i9-12900 as well as the presumably more affordable Core i5-12600. Intel did not release any consumer prices of its new chips. “The recommended customer price (RCP), which is only guidance for direct Intel customers (not consumers), for the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors starts at $42 to $489,” an Intel representative said via email.

Intel’s own estimates of Alder Lake’s performance, compared against the AMD Ryzen 5700G.

Intel

Guy Therien, an Intel fellow, also offered an update on the DRM issue that struck the first Intel Alder Lake launch. 91 games were impacted by their DRM’s inability to interact properly with the mix of performance and efficiency cores. Today, Intel has fixes for 89 of those titles: 54 via patches and 35 more through working with Microsoft to get fixes into Windows operating system for the remaining titles, he said.

Here are the new Alder Lake chipsets

Intel also provided all of the new chipset configurations that will be available as part of motherboards accompanying the new Alder Lake processors. Intel expects over 200 motherboards in all, produced by over 140 companies across 30 countries, Mock said. In October, Intel launched Alder Lake alongside the Z690 chipset, the only 12th-gen Core chipset which offers overclocking of both the performance and efficiency cores.

In addition to the Z690, Intel has now launched the H670, B660, and H610 chipsets, each with slightly differing feature sets. For example, the H670 and B660 appear very similar, but a reduced number of DMI 4.0 lanes between the processor and chipset will result in fewer I/O expansion options, too.

According to Intel, more than 200 Alder Lake motherboards from 140 customers will be available at launch, using the chipsets shown here. Intel’s Mock said that the Alder Lake CPUs support PCI Express 5.0 directly off of the CPU, while the chipsets only support PCI Express 4.0.

Intel

Finally, Intel’s Kate Porter, senior director of segmentation and scale for Business Client Platforms, shared what’s in store for Intel’s business platform, vPro. Intel plans to break down its vPro branding into four different sub-brands: Intel vPro Enterprise (the full-featured platform with top-tier manageability, security, and stability), vPro Essentials (for small businesses), vPro Enterprise for Chromebooks (to address the small but growing niche of enterprise around Chromebooks), and “Intel vPro, an Intel Evo Design” — basically, a business notebook designed around Intel’s premium Evo brand.

This story was updated at 10:43 AM with additional details.

Google Reveals Top Searches Of 2023

Google’s annual recap of the year’s top trending searches offers dozens of ideas for content publishers looking to capitalize on long-tail keyword opportunities.

Data on the top trending searches is published every year, which is interesting on its own, but you may find yourself asking “What can I do with this information?”

At first glance the data doesn’t have much to offer beyond satisfying general curiosity around what people are searching for in Google.

Take the overall top 10 trending searches in 2023, for example:

NBA

DMX

Gabby Petito

Kyle Rittenhouse

Brian Laundrie

Mega Millions

AMC Stock

Stimulus Check

Georgia Senate Race

Squid Game

There’s arguably not much you can do with that as a search marketer or content publisher.

Those are all huge topics, and the chances of ranking for any of them are slim at this point.

If you dig deeper, however, you’ll find the long-tail keywords people were searching for most this year.

You’ll find the questions people were asking — the things that searchers genuinely needed help with — and therein lies the opportunity.

Let’s go over some of those, and perhaps you’ll find a few ideas for your next pieces of content.

Note that these are all top “trending” searches, which means the keywords with the largest increases in search volume from 2023 to 2023. These are not necessarily the top searches across all of Google.

Google’s Top Trending Long-Tail Keywords Of 2023 Top ‘How To’ Searches Of 2023

If you can provide the most holistic answer to one of these questions you may see an influx of traffic coming your way.

How to help others

How to help Afghan refugees

How to help Texas

How to help India COVID

How to help toddler with cough

How to help foster kids

How to be

How to be eligible for stimulus check

How to be more attractive

How to be happy alone

How to be a baddie

How to be a good boyfriend

How to style

How to style straight leg jeans

How to style a wolf haircut

How to style a corset

How to style rings

How to style a sweater vest

Top Recipe Searches Of 2023

Food bloggers looking for some out-of-the-ordinary recipes to write about can find inspiration in the following list of top searches:

TikTok pasta

Bacon jam

Birria tacos

Crockpot chicken

Hamantaschen

Squid Game cookie

Baked oats

Cicada

Gigi Hadid pasta

Smashed potatoes

Top ‘This Or That’ Searches Of 2023

An often overlooked type of query is the ‘this or that’ search.

Whether it’s how to use a word correctly, or what’s the difference between two things, the ‘this or that’ search is a versatile keyword type that offers many opportunities for new content.

Here’s what searchers needed more clarity on this year:

Effect or affect

Barbie, Bratz or Fairy

Allergies or COVID

Bones or no bones

Bougie or boujee

Pfizer or Moderna

Sinus infection or COVID

Choose Bidoof or Bidoof

Cold or COVID

Capitol or capital

More Top Searches Of 2023

This is just a selection of the year’s top searches, which I picked out as I felt they were the most useful for publishers.

There’s many more to discover in Google’s Year In Search mini site.

Google has also put together a video recap of the year in search, which you can see below:

Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/product/search, December 2023. 

China Planning To Block Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellites?

According to the researchers, Starlink has a “huge potential for military applications”. Thus, they recommend countermeasures to surveil, or destroy the growing satellite megaconstellation. The original manuscript is in Chinese. However, you can get a translated copy of the paper published in the journal China’s Modern Defence Technology here.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is in charge of Starlink which is a broadband satellite internet network. It provides internet access to users irrespective of their location (anywhere globally). However, to use the Starlink network, the user will need access to a Starlink satellite dish. Back in 2023, the company launched its first satellites. Since then, it now has no less than 2300 satellites in low-Earth orbit worldwide. However, the company is planning to form a gigantic megaconstellation with no less than 42,000 satellites. China does not like this and will seek to stop it.

Starlink military power

Specifically, the researchers have concerns about the military capacity of this constellation. According to them, the U.S. will eventually track hypersonic missiles with this system. It will also boost U.S. military capacity and transmission speeds of U.S. drones and fighter jets. Furthermore, this megaconstelation could be a threat to Chinese satellites.

Last year, China wrote to the U.N complaining that Starlink satellites are an obstruction. China had to perform complex maneuvers to avoid “close encounters” with Starlink satellites last year.

China’s alternatives

Below are a couple of methods that China already has for disabling satellites

Microwave jammers: These can disrupt communications or fry electrical components

Powerful, millimeter-resolution lasers: These can blind satellites using high-resolution images

Cyber-weapons: Directly hacking into satellite networks

Long-range anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles to destroy

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“The Starlink constellation constitutes a decentralised system. The confrontation is not about individual satellites, but the whole system,” the researchers wrote. They recommend “low-cost, high-efficiency measures” to attack Starlink system. However, they did not specifically mention the measures.

In addition to bringing down the Starlink satellite system, the research proposes that China has its own spy satellite system. Whether or not this will involve the deployment of lasers, microwave weapons, or smaller satellites to counter the Starlink satellite remains to be seen. Furthermore, China wants to directly compete with Starlink. It will launch Xing Wang(or Starnet), a satellite system like Starlink. This system like Starlink will provide internet access to users globally. However, you can be sure that the U.S. and its allies will not permit this system.

Starlinks and military involvement

We can all imagine why China has concerns over Starlink military links. Recall that just two days after the commencement of the Russia – Ukraine crisis, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister wrote on Twitter asking Musk to deploy more Starlink satellites to Ukraine. At the moment, SpaceX has so far deployed over 12,000 Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine. Furthermore, “all critical infrastructure [in Ukraine] uses Starlink.”

A direct missile attack on the Starlink satellite will not be ideal for China. This is because of the risks that it poses. Direct missile attacks will create hazardous conditions for all nations operating in space including China. Furthermore, explosions in space are very dangerous because of the debris (thousands of them) which could fall anywhere. A single piece of debris could be as large as a basketball and could also be as small as a grain of sand.

Bringing down satellites is very complex

All the explosions in space have had very negative ripple effects and nobody wants that, not even the U.S. Certainly not China or even Russia. According to reports, all the explosion tests in space by the U.S., China, India, and Russia have all created space junk. Subsequently, some of these countries had to ban such tests. However, a few months ago, Chinese scientists claims to have a way to avoid the debris problem. Their method claims to have a pattern of containing the debris by packing the explosive device in a satellite exhaust nozzle. Thus, China claims it can blow up the satellite without creating a mess with the debris.

A report from the U.S. Department of Defense claims that China’s technology on satellites since 2023 is now doubled. While the U.S. has 2944 satellites (2300 are Starlink’s), China is second globally with 499. Although China is still a far cry from the U.S. in terms of satellites, the U.S. will not like the speed of Chinese development.

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