Google's Recruiting Testers for Broadband by Balloon
Last month 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 uses 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 (which also communicate with each other), and Google steers the balloons using wind as they ride the 40th parallel.
Or at least that's the plan. Google recently gave a little update to the project over at the Google Loon blog
, noting that Google has been conducting research flights around California's Central Valley to help improve power systems (solar panel orientation and batteries), envelope design, and radio configuration. The project is also trying to deal with interference over urban areas:
On our most recent research flight we overflew Fresno, a nearby city, to get statistics on how the presence of lots of other radio signals (signal-noise) in cities affects our ability to transmit Internet. It turns out that providing Internet access to a busy city is hard because there are already many other radio signals around, and the balloons' antennas pick up a lot of that extra noise. This increases the error-rate in decoding the Loon signal, so the signal has to be transmitted multiple times, decreasing the effective bandwidth.
Google shared a few photos from the effort here
, and they've also put the call out for California residents
willing to help them test Loon.
Re: OK, I'll be first
said by workablob:The Rube Goldberg machines I've seen all DID what they were designed to do, they just went about it in a unique and interesting way.
I really want this to work but it just seems kind of Rube Goldberg to me.
"when the people have suffered many abuses under the control of a totalitarian leader, they not only have the right but the duty to overthrow that government." - The U.S. Declaration of Independence
| |skeechanAi OtsukaholicPremium
It will be just another Google beta project Like most everything Google, it is beta and dead before it starts.
Re: Helium shortages
said by afn06011:Airplanes already fly "above" the weather, and this system will be higher than that, so i assume it would work fine. You might however run into some signal degradation as the signal passes through those storms. (like satellite tv)
Helium shortages are already an issue.
And I have to wonder how such a system would survive the kind of rough thunderstorms, almost daily during the summer, we get here in Florida.
Re: Helium shortages
said by tshirt:I only asked because previous posts mentioned storms as an issue and I did not know there where storms at that altitude.
I think it's pretty consistant and directional what little air there is.
probably -50-60º and not enough oxygen to burn anything.
I may have been born yesterday. But it wasn't at night.