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Internet for All: Stratospheric solution using Google Loon and Facebook Drone
Transcript of Internet for All: Stratospheric solution using Google Loon and Facebook Drone
2 in every three people in the world do not have access to internet
For example, only 4 in 100 people can access the internet in Cameroon
Reason: High cost of access due to high cost of infrastructure and mobile devices
As it is not effective for ISPs to expand to rural, low economic areas, also people leaving below $1 per day can't afford internet access
What are the solutions?
There have been some innovative solutions in the past 10years, but most have failed. However, five interesting ideas may make a difference in the next 10years. They are;
Internet for All, Why ?
High Altitude: 20miles (32km)
Duration in air: 100 days
Bandwidth: 2.4 and 5.8GHz
Speed: 3G (less 0.1 Gbps)
Coverage: 1,250 km2 (25miles diameter)
Additional service: VOIP calls
High altitude: 11miles(18km)
Duration in air: 5years
Speed: 4G (>1 Gbps)
Developed: Titan Aerospace
Additional services: Surveillance
Stratospheric solutions: Google Loon and Facebook Drone
Technical considerations for Google Loon
Solar storage and reliability is an issue at -100F and cloudy skies, in areas of applications
Loon’s current radio design negatively interfere on the ground in more developed areas, due to fading, scattering and Rayleigh effects. This would definitely affect other local WIFI signals. There would be so much signals and noise in the airwaves, that may require changes in regulation and implementation of other technologies
: The WIFI card (Rocket M5) is assumed to be MIMO 802.11a/g/n standard and uses TDMA, that can deliver 150Mbps throughput at +50km, but still the latency is pretty high (about 700+ms), this may be due to the moving balloons. Sure this is a viable option for VOIP service, which could motivate adoption of the service
How Loon Works
Polyethylene balloon 3x thicker than bread wrapper~0.076 mm (0.0030 in). Superpressure, design resistant to UV radiation and temperature of -58F
The balloons are blown to 50feet wide and 40feet tall
Designed with custom air-pump to maintain stability and control with mixture of Helium and Air
Electronic control of altitude, but parachute installed for cases of failure
Cost and what next ?
Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial water, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere.
Although space is still an open frontier, loosely regulated by international treaties, most governments consider the stratosphere above them their sovereign airspace, which is why they shoot down spy planes that venture into it.
The system is powered an array of solar cells, 5ft by 5ft in dimension
The solar cells operates for 4hours and receive up to 100W, that charges internal lithium ion batteries for dark hours or at night
Purely renewableable energy
Version 1 of Onboard circuitry with batteries
Because the wind below 10km of altitude is not favorable altitude, and balloons can not be positioned even above that altitude, an algorithm is used to control movement or flow of balloon based on national wind data, just like the sailing of boat to shoreline, adjusting them ion the right current in the direction of waves of the wind.
Theoretically, radio waves behave well in free space, with no interference of signal, and power is attenuated by path loss coefficient lower than 2
Circuitry and Transmission
Each balloon carries a payload of about 10kg, including but no limited to radio antenna, several sensors, altitude control system, processor chips and batteries.
The on-board antenna uses an Ubiquiti Networks Rocket M2 as a WIFI transceiver
A customized Linux OS is also loaded on a processor chip to manage and transmit network and location data
The OS is loaded with software that can logged onto remotely via the web
There is a Ground station with a transceiver similar to that on the balloon, but it's a high-power Ubiquiti AirMax/Rocket M5
Because of the mesh network design to ensure reliability, a ground station already connected via either fiber or other backbone infrastructure, beams signals to any nearby balloon
The first balloon that receives the signal, then forward the signals up to 5 other balloons on the same path with a distance of about 100km(62miles).
Each balloon hops the WIFI signal to areas coverage of about 1,256 km2
Users can receives signal via smartphones or customized dual-polarization dipole antenna through an access point
Note the ground station transmits at the 5Ghz frequency for the forward link, while the balloons transmit to local users at 2.4Ghz
Google and Facebook's Biggest Obstacle is not Technology!
It's Regulation and Politics!
The signals travel in the unlicensed spectrum in experiment period.
However, when Google becomes a global ISP, actually providing or selling Internet service. ISPs, like any communications service provider, are regulated, and governments will likely want some say in how that access is offered, what Google can charge, and ultimately whom Google is allowed to connect.
Both Google and Facebook may need to work harder to assure the countries it is working with that the network is secure and won't be used for spying.
One other wrinkle that could crop up is foreign governments' suspicions of the network in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
Ubiquity, True nationwide coverage, Reliable and Affordable connectivity, that is Scalable!
Yes, Facebook Drone?
Confirmed reports, have it that Facebook is likely going to acquire a Mexican drone company - Titan Aerospace for $60m.
Titan had demonstrated it debut Solara 50 and 60, in 2013, showing possibility to provide communication services, from just above the Tropopause (close to the atmosphere), 60,000 feet altitude that the FAA doesn't control
Solara are mounted with both LOS and BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) small, low cost radio repeaters and/or transmitters.
The repeater receives the signals from transmitters on the selected radio frequency (RF) channel and then re-transmits them on another frequency to a receiver.
The platform works exactly like regular satellite communication, both are better
Longer duration of up to 5years
Larger - 120ft wingspan and 50ft long
Higher speeds - greater 1Gbps
Larger coverage - 1018 sq miles
Efficient power management
Hang Li, Jie Zhang and Abdulsalam Abdullateef
The cost for deploying a single balloon is not too high, but since Google is planning to fly about 70,000 balloons to be able have a global scale
The estimated cost for the pilot in New Zealand for only 30 balloons is about $1.8 million
However, the cost alone for a single UAV manufactured by Titan is about $2million. This cost does not include the internet service.
The difference in economics is the area covered by Google about 180sq mile, while Facebook may even spend more the projected 1080sq mile
There is also additional cost for private WIFI licenses which will be dictated by different governments
Everyone is still working on research and filling patents