You know Google’s Project Loon? If not then this post will solve a lot of your questions that you may have. Basically it’s a concept/research project that aims to put WiFi signal into areas that are not accessible from the available infrastructure. And all of those using balloons! Yes, balloons! So, how did Project Loon begin? Google set up an Ask Away series that answers some of the most common questions, with the first one to answer exactly on that. Flight systems engineer Cliff describes building Project Loon from the ground up and says that “sometimes the best way to go about proving that something is possible is by disproving that it’s impossible”
But how exactly this project will actually work? Google engineers answer on that as well: “We believe it’s possible to create a ring of balloons that fly around the globe on the stratospheric winds and provide Internet access to the earth below. Balloons present some really hard science problems, but we’re excited about the progress so far”.
In order for the project to work you have to navigate the balloons around. Otherwise you will end up having a lot of flying WiFi antennas in on place and non on the other. The easiest way to do that is by moving the flying antennas up and down. Do to the balloons operation level, the winds are sort of predictable and moving in specific directions depending on the altitude. In this video two engineers, Keegan and Dan, discuss the ins and outs of ups and downs of this operation
Of course, the most critical part of the system is the antenna system. This piece of equipment will transmit and receive all the client signals. It has to be powerful enough and simultaneously make use of as low energy as possible. On top of that the transmission graph must be wide enough to cover a wide area of user on the ground. Cyrus, Loon’s Network Engineering Lead, takes us inside the Loon antenna and describes some of the unique design considerations of balloon-based antenna systems
And in case you wondering how the cases are made there is a video for that as well. Almost every other week Project Loon YouTube channel uploads a new video answering a new question. Have a look here if you don’t want to miss anything