Google’s Project Loon Explained

Google’s Project Loon is an ambitious scheme to bring high-speed internet connectivity to the entire world. With Google’s Project Loon team continually looking to test and advance the parameters of the project, more and more information is being made available about how high flying internet signals will work.

When Project Loon is eventually launched to the public, subscribers will be able to connect to a huge series of drifting internet-carriers attached to balloons. To avoid potentially troublesome obstacles such as mountain ranges, weather conditions and aircrafts, Project Loon internet hubs will float 20km (12.5 miles) above the surface of the earth, effectively placing them in the stratosphere.

For subscribers to receive an internet connection from a hub so far away, they will need to have a specialized Loon internet antenna connect to their house. The antennas, which don’t look dissimilar to a giant red lollypop, will be able to connect to the internet via the balloons which will relay information from the internet service provider. After a signal leaves the antenna, it travels to the nearest balloon, and is relayed through other nearby balloons until it is received by the Loon ground station and sent to the internet service provider.

To create an efficient and high-speed internet connection via the Loon network, antennas must have increased sensitivity to the information transmitted via balloon carriers. A patch antenna receives both waves bouncing off the antenna’s built-in reflector, and direct waves from the balloon. This is important since Loon receivers do not remain in a fixed location like traditional satellites, but move around the world based on stratospheric winds. A large network of Loon receivers spaced evenly apart will be able to provide uniform internet connections to people around the world.

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