When most people think of oceanic telecommunications they think of satellite links, fiber lines, and radios. These are the "tried and true" oceanic communications methods. But the seasteading community isn't just a few ships, it's the expansion of humanity into the last vastly unpopulated region of the earth. Early adopters may not expect to bring with them the amenities found on land, but future seasteaders will. One of these amenities, necessary for many modern land-locked citizens' work and entertainment, is telecommunications.
Below are some talking points for implementing an oceanic telecomm solution (in no particular order):
A - Viable technologies adapted for oceanic use B - A modular, expandable distribution method C - Equipment housing/telecomm stations D - Power E - Maintenance and Upgrades F - Funding
Viable oceanic telecomm technologies
Many new technologies are being leveraged for use in seasteading projects, so why settle for antiquated methods when it comes to comm? While radio and satellite communications are valid for early adoption, a more robust network will be required to drive population growth in seastead communities. Here are some thoughts on what technologies I think may be most effective in the near term. (Note: These ideas are for seasteads too far from near-shore communications options, and incorporate a multi-community mentality.)
Point-to-Point/Point-to-Multipoint - Utilizing line of sight (LoS) microwave communications arrays, a backbone point-to-point communications link can be broadcast from shore to an oceanic base stations. This station can then broadcast a point-to-multipoint signal like cellular communications towers ( WiMAX?, LTE? ) to provide internet connectivity to seasteads within communications range, average 20-60mi radius [land-based calculation, likely much greater distances possible at sea].
Backhaul Systems Though costly to implement, alternative data paths will be needed to ensure comm stays up during primary link outages. Military operations often revert to antiquated, more reliable technologies for backup systems.
A modular, expandable distribution method
Like a spiderweb, where multiple threads intersect to create a net-like structure, multiple base stations will be needed. This will provide greater range of coverage, higher bandwidth connections, and redundancy. Point-to-Point, Point-to-Multipoint, and Mesh Networking technologies will assist in making this happen.
Greater range of coverage - Utilizing Point-to-Point technologies as a backbone, we can extend the connectivity by many miles ( Formula ) per link by sending the signal to base stations further into the ocean. With each of these stations broadcasting a 20-60mi network signal, we can easily extend coverage by adding more base stations to the network. This allows us to reach many areas not previously serviced (or serviced well) by existing technologies.
Higher bandwidth connections - As range extends, so do possible points of presence (POPs) for internet connectivity. New on-shore base stations can be placed to provide secondary and tertiary internet connections for the network. Utilizing mesh networking techniques, these extra connections can be tied in to reduce strain on the existing network while providing alternate data outlets into the current global network infrastructure.
Redundancy - Base stations can be outfitted with backhaul links to connect with multiple stations at a time. This requires additional equipment, but allows for alternate data paths when specific links become unreliable. Mesh networking could also allow redundancy through allowing peer-to-peer connectivity to pass data when other links are unavailable (similar to Vincecate's Convoy Communications concept).
Equipment housing / Telecomm stations
Communications equipment will necessarily need to be protected, both from the elements, and from potential tampering/vandalism. Concerns for corrosion and condensation should be addressed.
(request assistance with this section)
In order to provide proper ranges for signal propagation, equipment will need to be raised to a significant height (50-100ft above sea level) while maintaining a relatively stable position with low swaying/bobbing. This will require a very deep ballast, and possibly anchoring or active guidance systems to keep the station in position.
-An alternative for guidance systems could be active tracking systems for microwave dishes, allowing them to adjust their angles in order to keep a fix on the distant end.
Possibly a modified version of Vincecate's Ball House?
Telecommunications towers will have substantial power requirements [insert numbers here]. A complimentary combination of power generation techniques will need to be leveraged in order to provide adequate and reliable power for the stations.
Since these stations will likely be dedicated to their purpose, we can focus on providing for the equipment needs with only mild concerns for maintenance personnel. Most of the space can be utilized specifically for power generation and storage, as the communications equipment will be primarily at the top of the tower.
Maintenance and Upgrades
Once installed, the base stations can mostly be left to themselves. Periodic visits (monthly?) for system quality assurance testing, hardware inspection/maintenance, and structure integrity checks will be necessary.
Technologies will change and techniques will be perfected. Continued research, testing, and evaluation will be required.
Initial startup costs for equipment (not counting base station structure) are projected to be [insert figure].
Including base station structure, cost projection increases to [insert figure].
Initial funding will be required, but subsequent operation, maintenance, and upgrade costs can possibly be funded by incorporating a business venture. This business could provide internet access to various vessels and oceanic structures within the target area. As latency will be low and bandwidth will be high, this connectivity could be sold at a premium. With continued network expansion, service areas could be added and increased revenue generated.
(...a work in progress - to be continued!)