Google says that there would not be any place on Earth without Internet connectivity. As a first step of this, Google has successfully launched the balloons with internet connection into the sky. The translucent balloons with the appearance of a Jelly fish navigate in the winds direction. Google’s idea to enable Internet connectivity worldwide was successfully experimented at New Zealand’s South Island.
The orbit of this balloon floating in the stratosphere is at a distance of 20 kms from the earth’s surface. When the balloons move in the sky, it doesn’t create any blocks for the planes. It’s because these balloons travel through the path which is above the planes route but below the satellite’s orbit. The balloons are not visible to naked eye unless at the time of launch. The signals to the balloon are transmitted from the stations on earth that are connected to the Global Internet service providers. These are then transmitted from one balloon to another. So, an Internet connectivity is first established among the balloons before providing connectivity to the buildings and homes. These balloons are controlled from the Loon Mission Control Rooms using special software to allow them to pick up wind traveling in the right direction and form a balloon network.
Depending upon the speed of the wind, the balloons travel alone or in groups. The first crisis faced by Google researchers was to make the signals from earth reach the balloons. But overcoming these entire crises they have succeeded in arranging the balloons, the receivers in it and other devices. The balloons are equipped with antennas with specialized radio frequency technology. Besides these, the balloons can also prevent climate changes. The balloons are developed with the help of NASA and American Defense Department.
The mission named as Project Loon was launched after 18 months of research. This invention was developed at Google X labs whose earlier 2 projects were Google glasses and self driving cars. The balloons are filled with Helium and Google says that this project is still in an experimental stage. The technology is still being tested to see if it’s viable. The Internet balloon aims at 4.8 billion people without any Internet connectivity especially in rural and remote areas.
If this balloon is to be successful in all levels, then it could be used in African and South West Asian countries with less Internet connectivity. It is very difficult and expensive in these areas to install fiber optic cables. Moreover the rate of Internet connection is also very high here. Those countries having Internet connectivity but not broadband facility can also utilize the connectivity from the balloons.
Solar panels are used for the movement of these balloons. Only 4 hours of charging is required for the balloons to travel a whole day. These balloons are made of polyethylene plastic sheets and have a height of 40 ft when it is fully inflated. Internet signals can be transmitted among the balloons and each balloon can provide Internet connectivity to an area of 1200 km sq, which is equivalent to double the size of New York City.
Internet connectivity can be provided irrespective of the geographical areas, whether it is the mountain regions or desert areas of Afghan. In order to receive the Internet signals, receivers connected to systems are setup. Google is trying to reduce the cost of the receivers and balloons to the maximum, but the total expense of this system is not yet released.
Even then the Internet cost is sure to be very less when compared to the cost of Internet provided via fiber optic cables. Google has planned to release 300 balloons as the next step. Google says that the balloons could be diverted to disaster-hit areas to provide rescue efforts in situations where ground communication equipment has been damaged.