Video call via the stratosphere: Loon, HAPSmobile test sky-high LTE

A video call related from the stratosphere topped off a current test of an autonomous, fixed-wing plane, as Loon and HAPSMobile efficiently put a telecommunications payload into the higher reaches of the ambiance and used it to ship LTE connectivity.

Video from the test reveals the Sunglider, a barely arched slice of photo voltaic panels, propellers and smooth vertical helps, taking off in darkness and offers glimpses of the car because it climbs, clouds dotting the sky under. It additionally reveals the Sunglider at peak, the place it spent 5 hours and 38 minutes at an altitude of 62,500 toes, with Earth’s horizon curving throughout the digital camera’s sight view and the solar gleaming off the photo voltaic panels. While the silent video initiatives a peaceful view of the car’s surrounds, Loon and HAPSMobile mentioned that wind speeds at instances reached greater than 58 knots (about 30 meters per second) and temperatures had been as little as -73 levels Celsius (-25.6 levels Fahrenheit).

HAPSMobile is a three way partnership fashioned in late 2017 by SoftBank and California-based AeroVironment; SoftBank owns 95% of the company. The firm has been an vital accomplice for Loon since final yr, when it put $125 million into Loon with an possibility to speculate one other $125 million on prime of that, and solidified plans to collaborate on high-altitude community connectivity options.

HAPSMobile and Loon detailed the testing in a Medium post and mentioned that the payload carried out “as deliberate.” The test, they added, was the world’s first profitable supply of LTE connectivity from a fixed-wing High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS, typically additionally known as High-Altitude Pseudo Satellites) autonomous plane in the stratosphere. The system relied on the use of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) know-how and 700 MHz spectrum as a service hyperlink from the Sunglider, and a feeder hyperlink in millimeter wave spectrum between the plane and a floor gateway, in response to Loon and HAPSMobile. Because the service hyperlink used Band 48 spectrum, customers on the floor from Loon and Aerovironment had been in a position to join with business smartphones for the video call.

Image: Loon/HAPSMobile

The corporations mentioned that along with the video call, they performed “fundamental measurements of stratosphere-to-ground radio wave propagation information that shall be used towards future contributions to the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) with a view to worldwide standardization” and that they plan to work with the ITU, 3GPP, telecom suppliers and regulators to advance the use of HAPS.

Luminaries related to each of the corporations joined in the call, which related folks from 4 international places: New Mexico, Tokyo, California and Washington, DC. This included Vint Cerf, typically referred to as certainly one of the “fathers of the web”, who can be VP and chief web evangelist at Google (Alphabet is the mother or father firm of Loon) and Jun Murai, who is called the “father of the web in Japan” and can be an exterior director for HAPSMobile in addition to a professor at Keio University. Loon CEO Alistair Westgarth and a floor group at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the place the plane took off and landed, had been additionally on the video call.

Image: Loon/HAPSMobile, via Medium

Cerf, in an announcement, referred to as the September 21 test occasion a “milestone demonstration” and added, “This know-how holds nice promise for the way forward for connectivity, particularly as a part of efforts to develop web entry to locations that don’t but have it.”

“Using the stratosphere for the cellular Internet goes to be the subsequent most revolutionary problem, and it’ll add to the present and achieved improvements of the Internet,” mentioned Jun Murai, who added that “The end result was an ideal success, making very sturdy impressions on everyone with high-resolution, clean video and virtually no latency, which made for thrilling and pure conversations. HAPS know-how is significantly wanted by all of us for pure catastrophe restoration and Internet inclusion, that are key missions of the Internet immediately. The Internet is for everybody, every little thing and in all places. Now we step ahead to attain this dream.”

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