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Pinedale Online > News > January 2014 > Project Loon
Project Loon
Google’s idea to get internet access to the entire world – using balloons
by Pinedale Online!
January 11, 2014

Google has a grand vision to get cost-effective, reliable internet connectivity to the entire world, and their innovative idea involves something that seems so simple. Balloons.

The concept is to launch a network of high-altitude balloons that float about 20 kilometers above the earth, above weather and plane traffic. High frequency radios attached to each balloon connect them to each other and to antennas on base stations on the ground.

The large balloons are about 15 meters in diameter and float in the stratosphere above altitudes where planes fly. The balloons can be controlled to move up and down between wind layers that go in different directions for position and steering control. By catching the right winds, the balloons can be kept together in groups to get enough coverage for internet service to the ground. The balloons can be navigated to sail the waves of the winds to shape and pattern the network. The balloons connect to specialized internet antennas on buildings on the ground, such as a home or business. Each of the balloons communicate with their neighboring balloons, and then back down to the ground station which connects to a local internet service provider. This creates a network in the sky. The balloons are completely solar powered. They can be controlled for direction and landing for retrieval and maintenance. Launching and landing of balloons are coordinated with air traffic control for aircraft safety during operations.

The radios and antennas are designed to receive signals only from Project Loon in order to achieve the high bandwidth over the long distances involved, and filtering out other interfering signals.

The concept was successfully tested in a pilot experiment in June, 2013 in New Zealand where researchers launched 30 specially designed, high-altitude balloons. Once launched, researchers were able to connect to the network and get internet access to computers at locations on the ground that previously had no internet access service.

Google says the majority of the world, billions of people, presently do not have access to the internet. They believe this technology can work to bring internet access to everyone everywhere.

Click on this link for more information about Google’s Project Loon:

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  • Pinedale Online > News > January 2014 > Project Loon

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