Jamaican-born engineer, Dr. Charles Anthony Barnett, a former student at Cornell College and a senior vice-president of Hughes Network Systems based in Maryland, is the head of a technical team that has joined with the OneWeb system to bring faster broadband internet connectivity speeds to unserved and under-served communities around the world.
The OneWeb system is described by Hughes Network, which is a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation, as one of the most complicated and advanced low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellations. When it is completed, OneWeb’s LEO satellites will offer high speeds and low latency connectivity throughout the world, whether over the water, in the air, or across land previously unconnectable, which includes the polar regions, said Dr. Barnett.
Hughes is under contract to OneWeb to develop and produce the gateway electronics and core modules to be used in each one of the system’s terminals. The operation of which Dr. Barnett is the head, requires that the elite team of engineers at Hughes tests and verifies the gateways as they are deployed, tracking and syncing satellites in real time. Dr. Barnett’s broad technical background in both wired and wireless terrestrial and satellite communications over 40 years makes him the perfect leader for the project.
Dr. Barnett attended Cornwall College from 1969 to 1974 before becoming a student at the College of Arts and Technology (now the University of Technology (Utech) in Jamaica. He graduated with honors in 1977, then spent three years as a lecturer in electrical engineering at CAST prior to traveling to the United States to study in 1980. He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in computer engineering and earned a doctorate in electrical engineering communication from the University of Maryland in College Park. He is currently a member of the advisory boards of the University of Maryland’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the Institute of System Research, University of Maryland in College Park, and the University of Shady Grove University System of Maryland. In 2003, Dr. Barnett was named the vice-president of engineering at Hughes, being promoted to senior vice-president in 2017.
The Hughes company noted how COVID-19 emphasized the importance of connectivity to the world. The firm is now functioning at full capacity as an organization and has experienced an increase in network traffic as more people work and attend school on a remote basis.