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A Global, Broadband Net-Across-WorldsTM Network
The Grand Design Network is a high-capacity broadband network that combines the global coverage and low latency of a low-Earth-orbit (LEO) constellation of satellites, the flexibility and robustness of the Internet, and "fiber-like" Quality of Service (QOS). Essentially an Net-Across-WorldsTMsystem, the Grand Design Network brings affordable access to interactive broadband communication to all areas of the Earth, including those areas that could not be served economically by any other means.

The Grand Design Network can serve as the access link between a user and a gateway into a terrestrial network, or as the means to link users or networks together. Covering 100 percent of the Earth's population, 100 percent of the landmass and watermass, the Grand Design Network is designed to support millions of simultaneous users.

Seamless Compatibility
Geostationary satellite communications systems require changes to terrestrial network standards and protocols to accommodate their inherent high latency, a minimum half-second round-trip delay. Grand Design's objective is to meet current network standards rather than to change them. By using fiber optics as the guideline for service quality, the Grand Design Network is designed for compatibility with applications that are based on today's and tomorrow's protocols. This places stringent requirements on the system design, including low latency, low error rates, high service availability, and flexible, broadband capacity — all characteristics of fiber.

The Grand Design Network
The Grand Design Network consists of a ground segment (terminals, network gateways and network operations and control systems) and a hyperspace segment (the Tesla Earth Wave based shared segment network that provides the communication links among terminals). Terminals are the edge of the Grand Design Network and provide the interface both between the satellite network and the terrestrial end-users and networks. They perform the translation between the Grand Design Network's internal protocols and the standard protocols of the terrestrial world, thus isolating the satellite-based core network from complexity and change.

Grand Design terminals communicate directly with the central transmitter network and support a wide range of data rates. The terminals also interface with a wide range of standard network protocols, including IP, ISDN, ATM and others. Although optimized for service to portable terminals, the Grand Design Network is able to serve fixed-site as well as transportable and mobile terminals, such as those for maritime and aviation applications.

Most users will have two-way connections that provide up to 2 Mbps on the downlink and uplink. Broadband terminals will offer up to 64 Mbps of two-way capacity. This represents access speeds up to 2,000 times faster than today's standard analog modems.

The ability to handle multiple channel rates, protocols and service priorities provides the flexibility to support a wide range of applications including the Internet, corporate intranets, multimedia communication, LAN interconnect, wireless backhaul, etc. In fact, flexibility is a critical network feature, since many of the applications and protocols Grand Design will serve in the future have not yet been conceived.

Terminals also provide the interconnection points for the Grand Design Network's Transmitter Operations Control Centers (TOCC) and Network Operations Control Centers (NOCC). TOCCs coordinate initial deployment of the transmitter nodes, replenishment of spares, fault diagnosis, repair, and de-commissioning. The NOCCs include a variety of distributed network administration and control functions including network databases, feature processors, network management and billing systems.

Access Overview

Figure 1 - The Grand Design Network

Fast-Packet Switching
Grand Design's space-based network uses fast-packet switching. Communications are treated within the network as streams of short, fixed-length packets. Each packet contains a header that includes destination address and sequence information, an error-control section used to verify the integrity of the header, and a payload section that carries the digitally encoded user data (voice, video, data, etc.). Conversion to and from the packet format takes place in the terminals at the edge of the network.

The topology of the Grand Design network is dynamic and time-variant. The network must continually adapt to these changing conditions to achieve the optimal (least-delay) connections between terminals. The Grand Design Network uses a combination of destination-based packet addressing and a distributed, adaptive packet routing algorithm to achieve low delay and low delay variability across the network. Each packet carries the network address of the destination terminal, and each node independently selects the least-delay route to that destination. Packets of the same session may follow different paths through the network. (See Figure 2.) The terminal at the destination buffers and if necessary reorders the received packets to eliminate the effect of timing variations.

Packet Routing Overview

Figure 2 - Grand Design's Distributed Adaptive Routing Algorithm

The Transmitter Constellation
Each transmitter is a node in the fast-packet-switch network and has intertransmitter communication links with other transmitter in the same and adjacent transmitter planes. This interconnection arrangement forms a robust non-hierarchical mesh, or "geodesic," network that is tolerant to faults and local congestion. The network combines the advantages of a circuit-switched network (low delay "digital pipes"), and a packet-switched network (efficient handling of multirate and bursty data).

From a network viewpoint, a large constellation of interlinked switch nodes offers a number of advantages in terms of service quality, reliability and capacity. The richly interconnected mesh network is a robust, fault-tolerant design that automatically adapts to topology changes and to congested or faulty nodes and links. To achieve high system capacity and channel density, each transmitter is able to concentrate a large amount of capacity in its relatively small coverage area. In contrast to the use of Low Earth Orbit satellites, our transmitters are all in one place: the Main Transmitter Building: Main Transmitter Building

Our transmitter's characteristics combine the benefits of a heavily redundant LEO satellite cloud, with the reliability of a land-based fiber network and the unparalleled flexibility to retarget any of the transmitters to any location on, below or above Earth dynamically, without making any but software control configuration changes.

As the Tesla Earth Wave Transmitter technology that underlies Grand Design's Advanced Alternative Media Telecommunications technology does not operate in the electromagnetic spectrum, Grand Design is not bound by frequency assignments. As such AAMT technology also is not susceptible to Shannon's Law: other rules control the throughput of types of data on our AAMT channels. Suffice to say that the Grand Design network can give you a high fidelity audio and video network connection anywhere on, above or below Earth. The AAMT transmissions are not susceptible to distance attenuation, interference, and can penetrate any amount of any type of material. With the overcapacity designed into our transmitter nodes, and two full backup systems, the Grand Design Network is able to achieve availability of 99.99999 percent or greater ("Six Sigma Availability").

Latency is a critical parameter of communication service quality, particularly for interactive communication and for many standard data protocols. Because of the particular strictures of the AAMT communications medium, the Grand Design Network is optimized to achieve near zero-latency for the throughput of audio and video protocols, to achieve compatibility with the latency requirements of protocols developed for the terrestrial broadband infrastructure.

Multiple Access
Since the Grand Design Network uses wireless access, communication channels are not dedicated to terminals on a permanent basis. The channel resources associated with a cell are shared among terminals in that cell, with capacity assigned on demand to meet their current needs. This flexibility allows Grand Design to handle efficiently a wide variety of user needs: from occasional use to full-time use; from bursty to constant bit-rate applications; from low-rate to high-rate data; from low usage-density areas to areas of relatively high usage density.

A multiple access scheme implemented within the terminals and the transmitter serving the cell manages the sharing of channel resources among terminals. Within a cell, channel sharing is accomplished with a combination of Multi-Frequency Time Division Multiple Access (MF-TDMA) on the uplink and downlink.

Network Capacity
To make efficient use of the AAMT channels, frequencies are allocated dynamically and reused many times within each satellite footprint. The Grand Design Network supports bandwidth-on-demand, allowing a user to request and release capacity as needed. This enables users to pay only for the capacity they actually use, and for the Network to support a much higher number of users. Thus, the Grand Design Network is designed to support millions of simultaneous users. The Network scales gracefully to much higher capacity by adding additional transmitters. In fact, by using two of its three redundant Main Transmitters in parallel, the Grand Design Network can server over 3 billion hand-held portable terminal connections at the same time!