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Google Loon Making Progress, Delivering 5 to 22 Mbps in Tests
by Karl Bode 05:29PM Monday Jun 16 2014
In June of last year Google unveiled Google Loon, the latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas. Project Loon will use hot air balloons 49 feet wide stationed 12 miles above the planet, well above the range of commercial aircraft. Ground base stations set some sixty miles apart communicate with solar-powered radio transmitters affixed to the balloons, and Google steers the balloons using wind as they ride the 40th parallel.

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Not everybody has been optimistic that Google Loon will ever be more than a fun hobby for Google. Avid balloonist and aeronautical engineer Per Lindstrand stated that the company was wasting their time on the effort, saying the winds up there are simply too fierce to keep reasonable control of the balloons over longer periods of time (more than a few days).

In an update on the project over at Wired, Google project director Mike Cassidy states that the program has made significant strides in flight duration and available bandwidth, recent tests delivering 5 to 22 Mbps to the ground.
quote:
“The balloons are delivering 10x more bandwidth, 10x steer-ability, and are staying up 10x as long. That’s the kind of progress that can only happen a few more times until we’re in a problematically good place.” A year ago, balloons typically remained aloft for a few days at most, and download speeds averaged one or two megabits per second—comparable to the slowest wired Internet service.
While Loon is probably going to be predominately a developing market product (if indeed it's ever an actual product), Google insists they're also pitching the product to phone companies looking to supplement existing spotty coverage.

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Anzio

join:2008-11-22
Innisfil, ON

1 recommendation

No thanks

Yeah... Like I would ever connect to a Google network. No thanks.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA

1 recommendation

Re: No thanks

such an insightful post.

bmccoy

join:2013-03-18
Port Orchard, WA

2 recommendations

Exactly, I'd much rather use Comcast than Google Fiber for internet. I like to support companies like Comcast who look out for everyone's privacy. /sarcasm
MURICA

join:2013-01-03

1 recommendation

Thanks for letting us all know that you're swapping child porn or making bombs.

Because that is literally the only reason you should have to be concerned about your traffic potentially being snooped on.

They couldn't care less what legal fetish porn you watch or how much pirated traffic you push.

You are not a big fish and you are not special.
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361

1 recommendation

Re: No thanks

All you need to do is get on the wrong person's bad side and see what shows up. Or say someone accuses you of something you didn't do and their lawyer points to all the legal yet frownded upon stuff you downloaded as evidence of your culpability.
--
isheavenforreal.com

pixxt

join:2010-12-13
Dearborn, MI
said by MURICA:

Thanks for letting us all know that you're swapping child porn or making bombs.

Because that is literally the only reason you should have to be concerned about your traffic potentially being snooped on.

They couldn't care less what legal fetish porn you watch or how much pirated traffic you push.

You are not a big fish and you are not special.

Nice troll post there mate.

Metatron2008
Premium
join:2008-09-02
united state
said by MURICA:

Thanks for letting us all know that you're swapping child porn or making bombs.

Because that is literally the only reason you should have to be concerned about your traffic potentially being snooped on.

They couldn't care less what legal fetish porn you watch or how much pirated traffic you push.

You are not a big fish and you are not special.

Cool, so you'll let us all se what you text people and open all the windows and doors of your home since you do nothing illegal right?
MURICA

join:2013-01-03

Re: No thanks

Who said anything about you?

Get top secret NSA clearance and then we'll talk.
amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable

1 recommendation

is it just me?

Or is this the silliest thing ever? I mean, come on. By the time you waste all the time and money on such a thing, you could've built nice fixed wireless towers that don't float away.

I just don't get the reasoning behind giving such a project any serious consideration.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

Re: is it just me?

Not here, no, but this could work in places like Africa, where you don't have the best infrastructure on the ground. It could also work in places where you have lots of water and want ships in the area to have access, such as the Mediterranean, the North Sea, etc.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
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Depending on where you are, fixed wireless is really hard to build...looking up presents fewer LOS issues than looking aside (e.g. to a cell or WISP tower). Plus, Google already tried the WISP thing. It's called Clearwire, and it wasn't all that great

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

1 recommendation

Re: is it just me?

No that was Sprint...
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: is it just me?

Google and Intel made significant investments in Clearwire. Not as much as Sprint did, but not chump change either.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: is it just me?

And so did ever other MSO. But Google was one of the first to give up. The same company that claimed they'd change the way people buy their cell phones. And that never happened.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: is it just me?

Google's Nexus and Moto X pushes have helped companies like T-Mobile pull off no-subsidy phone pricing, actually. Maybe not in huge volume, but Google and T-Mobile have been working together since the G1 (if I recall, it was the first 3G smartphone on T-Mobile...or one of the first). Without Android, T-Mobile wouldn't be where it is today.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
It might work well if there were 1000s of ballons slowly rotating around the world, with each area using whichever one happened to be overhead at the time.
However given the size of the oceanic garbage patch(es) and the current level of plastic bits EVERYWHERE in our environment, continuously launching thousands of giant plastic condoms every month seems like a really terrible idea, as long as ANY other solution is possible.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA

Re: is it just me?

there are many materials like that that are biodegradable.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: is it just me?

Yup, including a new shrimpshell-silk "plastic" for the envelope but the electronics, batteries and "steering" gear are probably not so green.
come on, Google solve the simple material science question BEFORE building an untenable/non-sustainable solution.

fiosultimate

join:2014-06-09
San Antonio, TX

Re: is it just me?

What and Google miss out on the free publicity? U must be joking

fiosultimate

join:2014-06-09
San Antonio, TX

2 edits
Publicity, just like google fiber, another project with no future, all publicity is good especially free publicity like skittles consumption went up after trevon martin
tabernak

join:2013-08-10
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·AT&T DSL Service
Well, they recently purchased a drone company that could be used in conjunction with these technologies.
»Google Nabs Drone Maker Facebook Sought to Buy
"The Solara 50 and 60 models can be launched at night using power from internal battery packs, then when the sun rises, they can store enough energy to ascend to 20KM above sea level where they can remain for five years without needing to land or refuel. Such capabilities make them ideal for regional Internet systems, like those that Internet.org would be focused on."

If there's any truth those claims, it's not a stretch to see it as being a viable system if the costs can be made reasonable. Even if it's pricey, you could easily see scenarios where a system such as that could be use to provide temporary infrastructure in disaster areas.

why60loss

join:2012-09-20
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Wireless..

And this is faster than what I had last year

So google can more or less give away speeds better than what I got at Time warner cable last year. Oh how sad that is.

At lest now I am a happy Comcast customer with 36/6 for $30 a month. Far better than the 5/1 for the same amount from the other cable business called TWC. (Real world speeds, never seem to get what I pay for but oh well guess that's just cable. LOL)
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

The Mention Using LTE...

Although 5Mbps is fantastic for somewhere that has never had connectivity, it seems rather slow unless each balloon only plans to serve a very small number of clients. Is this because they are using a very small portion of spectrum? Is it because LTE isn't optimized for ranging clients at the distances involved? (If it's 12 miles in the air and the client is 30 miles from the balloon's ground position, that would be roughly 33 miles between the client and the balloon.)
ptbarnett

join:2002-09-30
Lewisville, TX

Hot air balloons?

I don't know what is more absurd: that someone would think hot air balloons would actually work in this context, or repeatedly posting it even after the error has been pointed out.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Re: Hot air balloons?

But Karl has lots of hot air , (additional comment better left to your imagination).
HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5
said by ptbarnett:

I don't know what is more absurd: that someone would think hot air balloons would actually work in this context, or repeatedly posting it even after the error has been pointed out.

I think he does it on purpose now... every time there's a Google Loon article, I always check to see if Karl says "hot air balloon" then wait for the inevitable comment...
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net

AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

10 times

10 times zero is still zero

tito79

join:2010-03-14
Brewster, NY
kudos:1

Re: 10 times

I'm in for it trust me if ever we get a huge hurricane one day I'm sure google loon will save us.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: 10 times

Just like they saved us from every other one?

just thinkin

@68.179.223.x

Step one and two for use

"latest in a long line of similar projects that will use hot air balloons to deliver broadband and wireless services to under-served or emergency prone areas." Folks have already commented on underserved. This not about underserved because you can only get 5megs of speed out of your hard wired or wifi smart phone systems, it's about underserved as in 'none'. And then the emergency prone areas. Lets start with emergency prone due to natural disaster. Fire, tornado, earthquake, hurricane ends- then LAUNCH the balloons to provide a backbone of communications. One of the first things to be shut down (though not destroyed) in the Nisqually quake here in Washington state was cell phone and internet systems.