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Author Topic: Can balloons help us get the internet to remote locations?  (Read 2894 times)

Offline thedoc

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This week Google has tested a new balloon network which could being internet to remote locations...

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« Last Edit: 22/06/2013 09:09:14 by evan_au »


 

Offline evan_au

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It's good that they are flying the balloons at 20km altitude (twice the cruising altitude of commercial aircraft).

I hope there is an aircraft transponder or retroreflector on the balloon, so that planes can spot the balloons as they rise through commercial aircraft lanes at 0-10km - and as they descend back through through this safety-critical zone when the helium gas is lost after 100 days.

There are some military aircraft that fly around 20km altitude - and  these aircraft don't use radar or transponders so they are harder to detect. It is important that the balloon has an active transponder regularly transmitting its latitude, longitude & altitude so that military aircraft know that the balloon is there.
 

Offline yor_on

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Damn, this is Google at its best :) When they disconnect their visions from mundane politics and start to look at what future we all would like to see. Always liked Balloons and Zeppelin's. And the difference between taking a Boeing 747 relative a zeppelin is that in one case you want to get there, in the other you enjoy the journey. Modern life is very much about 'getting there' and achieve. And people act as if it is a rule from God that we all should run through our lives, being 'productive'. A lot of bs, well, if you ask me.
 

Offline Schema

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That would be cool. I can't wait to hack a balloon  ;D
 

Offline CliffordK

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Interesting.
I can imagine good network coverage in the mid-Atlantic, and mid-Pacific, which are some of the more sparsely populated regions in the world.

Is that about a 40 km one-way coverage, or about 6400km2 coverage per balloon?  The total surface area of Earth is about 510,072,000 km2, or about 80,000 balloons.  Actually, I had expected the number to be a bit higher, but that still is a lot of balloons to maintain.  And, since helium and hydrogen both slowly leak out of their containers, the network will need constant maintenance.

All the antennas would have to be designed to be omnidirectional, or have some kind of a balloon tracker built in.
 

Offline JSparkle

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This is a great idea and probably one of those that came from Google's policy of allowing staff to work on their own projects for a percentage of the week. This would be very useful in rural parts of Australia.
 

Offline evan_au

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Once the electronics were sufficiently developed, the balloon would probably carry an electronically steered antenna array, so there is a strong, directional signal towards the people wanting to communicate to the balloon, without wasting much power transmitting in unwanted directions, as tends to happen with an omnidirectional antenna.

Modern wireless systems often have multiple antennas on the transmitter and receiver, so they can form multiple connections between each transmitting and receiving antenna, a technique known as "Multiple-Input/Multiple Output".
 

Offline MrVat7

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ballons can fly anywhere . they have to be tied to a spot in order to transmit signal , also baloons are highly affected by winds , sometimes heavy winds make baloon to collapse down , this kind of system is risky .
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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yeah, it sounds way easier to just launch a balloon then to build a huge dish. but honestly how long would it last before you had to replace it.
 

Offline syhprum

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Much as I would have liked to take a trans Atlantic trip on the Hindenburg I very much doubt that I could have afforded it , I wonder what the cost was in modern terms
 

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