STATES CHRONICLE – Earlier this week, Google’s Project Loon released details on its latest plan. The program will be changing its balloons system in order to carry out its goal. Which is distributing and ensuring a Wi-Fi connection.
Project Loon is one of the former Google X now X programs. It is a development and research program. One with a clear cut, quite ambitious target. That of providing Internet access. Especially in remote and rural areas.
Whilst Project Loon is not the first to set out on such a mission, it will be using a rather unusual method. Amazon, another company with the same goal, is planning on using drones. Project Loon, for its part, is looking at balloons.
It will be using high-altitude balloons which should be placed in our Earth’s stratosphere. They will be situated some 11 miles above ground. And should provide an aerial Wi-Fi network. One capable of providing even 4G-LTE speeds.
Earlier this week, Google revealed new details about the project. These were offered through an official blog post. One published by Astro Teller on the X company blog.
Project Loon’s balloons work by circling the globe. As such, they offer Internet access to all the remote and rural areas. But its latest development will come with an added feature. Project Loon balloons should come to ensure an Internet connection even in precise locations.
More exactly, they will be able to offer this connection in location specific places where it is needed. They will be able to do so thanks to a change in the flight algorithm.
Project Loon will be able to detach small teams of balloons. This will form a sort of cluster. One which can be used and constructed in specific areas. Ones which require an Internet access.
According to the X blog post, this is a shift from the initial target. Project Loon set out with the following plan. It would function based on rings of balloons. These would sail around the globe. From the stratosphere, they would take turns in moving around a region. As such, they would provide service according to need.
But at the same time ensure a constant connection. As one balloons group sailed away, another would take its place. The same with the region in general. Each balloon ring would pass through all the regions and replace the one before it.
Now, small balloon groups can constantly be placed above a specific region. These provide the needed service all the while dancing in small loops over it. Project Loon was able to roll out this new option thanks to machine learning algorithms.
These will also help improve the deployment periods. A balloon ring should now form in weeks, not in months. And it should also require less work and a smaller management effort. It will also be more economical. And will help improve the Project Loon operational viability.
X also believes that it will be able to reduce the number of needed balloons. And it will do so as it will harvest a greater value out of the remaining ones.
All of these facts should also help reduce the overall costs. This is an important element. Most consider high costs one of the key elements in the lack of Internet in some areas.
Balloons, in general, are seen as being more cost effective and useful when compared to other variants. They are mostly considered as being the best alternative from both a technical and economic point of view.
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