Dr. Alex Hills and his team built the world’s first big Wi-Fi network in the 1990s. 1st of June dr. Hills will be visiting UiT in Narvik giving a guest lecture about Alaska’s early use of GEO satellite technology.
More than 45 years ago, geosynchronous Earth orbiting (GEO) satellites began to provide modern telecommunication services to small villages spread across Alaska. They provided telephone, television – and later Internet -- service to tiny towns in this very big state. It was a huge advance for Alaska and the world’s first widespread use of small satellite earth stations.
But low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites are different from the older GEO satellites. These new satellites can provide high-speed, low-latency (broadband) Internet service anywhere in the world. But they do pose some problems – including light pollution, space debris, and interference to GEO satellites.
This lecture will tell the story of Alaska’s early use of GEO satellite technology. It will also explain the new LEO satellites’ capabilities, the challenges they face, and some solutions to the GEO-to-LEO interference problem.
Dr. Alex Hills is Distinguished Service Professor of Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He was the first Director of the university’s Information Networking Institute and served as Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer, in charge of all the university’s computing and network facilities. In the 1990s Professor Hills conceived and led his team to build the world’s first Wi-Fi network. His home state is Alaska, where he worked in the 1970s and 1980s to develop the networks that now provide modern telecommunication services across the big state.
Dr. Hills has traveled to 60 countries and seven continents in connection with his guest lectures and consulting projects, including stints as a distinguished visiting professor in Singapore, New Zealand, and Chile. An inventor with 17 patents, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame, and he has been named Alaska’s Engineer of the Year. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Alaska.