Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Google Loon: Internet Access via Balloons

After his Hi-tech glasses, Google has unveiled a new experimental project for the less ambitious and unconventional Loon. Via balloons filled with helium and sent into the stratosphere, it is to provide internet access to people who cannot even enjoy it. A first experiment is already launched in New Zealand. There are more than a year now, Google X a research laboratory "secret" of the web giant, emerged from the shadows by revealing the Google Glass. This time, he returns to the front of the stage with Loon, a crazy project that seems straight out of a science fiction novel. Indeed, it is to provide access to the Internet via balloons in the sky. 2/3 of the population does not have access to the Internet and therefore Google tried for a fast and effective solution

The Mountain View company is part of a simple fact about the Internet: "Two thirds of the world's population, however, still do not have access to a fast connection and cheap, and there is still much to be done in this area. It indeed takes with many natural obstacles (jungles, islands, mountains, etc...) and financially. In majority of countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection today still exceeds the equivalent of a monthly income“. Based on this inventory, the web giant unveiled a solution for home, in theory, to provide Web access to the largest number for a cost that should be mastered and increase the number of users on its services? The chosen solution is to send the balloons in the stratosphere at about 20 km altitude, twice as high as commercial flights. The problem is they cannot remain in geostationary position (the orbit is 35,768 miles) as satellites for example, so they derive the liking of the winds. However, thanks to solar and wind energy, it is possible to adjust the height of the ball and take advantage of a favorable wind to the best position. Obviously, they are in communication with each other to create a mesh over our heads and spread over a wide area Internet, the whole being connected to a server. This however raises the question of managing a full fleet of balloons which should include many components. On one hand, the web giant sweeps this issue claiming to have already "developed algorithms and complex computer systems" without further details.

A first experimental phase was launched in the region of Canterbury in New Zealand. It brings together 50 testers equipped with special receivers and about thirty balloons. The web giant is now seeking countries on the same latitude as the country to expand their experience. Balloons communicate and sprinkle the area with access to internet. Of course, no price or availability date was mentioned for marketing Loon and rates side, Google only says he hopes to provide "access to the Internet at speeds comparable or superior to those networks of current 3G "remains to be seen whether it is 3G base (384 kb / s in urban mode) or 3G + up to 42 Mb / s, the difference is huge. Finally, note that Google+ and dedicated web pages have been implemented. Finally, here are two videos presenting Loon.

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