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Google Balloons (Balloon Powered Internet Access)

Manish Gupta Jaipur National University Master of o!puter Applications


I. Abstract "his paper deals with the topic #Google Balloons$ which can !a%e a revolution in the years to co!e& Many of us thin% of the Internet as a glo'al co!!unity& But two(thirds of the world)s population does not yet have Internet access& Pro*ect +oon is a networ% of 'alloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and re!ote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and 'ring people 'ac% online after disasters& "he Internet is one of the !ost transfor!ative technologies of our lifeti!es& But for - out of every . people on earth, a fast, afforda'le Internet connection is still out of reach& And this is far fro! 'eing a solved pro'le!& "here are !any challenges to Internet connectivity/forests, I0+AN10, !ountains& "here are also !a*or cost challenges& 0olving these pro'le!s isn2t si!ply a 3uestion of ti!e4 it re3uires loo%ing at the pro'le! of access fro! new angles& 0o today we2re presenting latest !oonshot fro! Google5674 'alloon(powered Internet access& A Google 'alloon is Google)s pro*ect that also %nown as #Pro*ect +oon$& In -889, Google had considered contracting with or ac3uiring 0pace 1ata orp&, a co!pany that sends 'alloons carrying s!all 'ase stations a'out -8 !iles (.- %!) up in the air for providing connectivity to truc%ers and oil co!panies in the southern United 0tates, 'ut didn2t do so& Unofficial develop!ent on the pro*ect 'egan in -8:: under incu'ation in Google ; with a series of trial runs in alifornia2s entral <alley& "he pro*ect was officially announced as a Google pro*ect on := June -8:.& >e 'elieve that it !ight actually 'e possi'le to 'uild a ring of 'alloons, flying around the glo'e on the stratospheric winds, which provide Internet access to the earth 'elow& It2s very early days, 'ut they 'uilt a syste! that uses 'alloons, carried 'y the wind at altitudes twice as high as co!!ercial planes, to 'ea! Internet access to the ground at speeds si!ilar to today2s .G networ%s or faster& Google ;, the secretive la' announced its latest pro*ect4 balloon-powered Internet access for those areas of the earth where regular Internet isn)t a good option& Google started testing these 'alloons, which are !eant to provide Internet access co!para'le to .G networ%s while sailing the stratospheric winds& Pro*ect +oon is a glo'al networ% of high altitude 'alloons& "he 'alloons ascend li%e weather 'alloons until they reach the stratosphere, where they drift a'ove :9 %! (?8,888 ft), safely a'ove the altitudes used for aviation& Unli%e weather 'alloons, +oon 'alloons are super pressure, which ena'le the! to stay aloft for :88@ days at a ti!e& "his is far longer than typical weather 'alloons, which last for a !atter of hours& +oon 'alloons are also uni3ue in that they are steera'le and entirely solar powered& New Aealand)s anter'ury Plain is hosting Google)s latest idea(that)s(so(goofy(it(!ight(wor%, appropriately na!ed Pro*ect +oon& "hirty high altitude 'alloons carrying data relay e3uip!ent were released to drift over hristchurch, generally heading east towards the teleco!s starved hatha! Islands& "he concept Google is testing to put enough 'alloons into the air to create a fleet of at!ospheric satellites that can tal% to each other and to the ground, and relay Internet service too hard to reach places 5:7& II. Envelop design: Google Balloon design Introduction

Figure 1: Envelop

"he 'alloon envelope is the na!e for the inflata'le part of the 'alloon& Pro*ect +oon)s 'alloon envelopes are !ade fro! sheets of polyethylene plastic and stand fifteen !eters wide 'y twelve !eters tall when fully inflated& "hey are specially constructed for use in superpressure 'alloons, which are longer(lasting than weather 'alloons 'ecause they can withstand higher pressure fro! the air inside when the 'alloons reach float altitude& >hen a 'alloon is ready to 'e ta%en out of service, gas is released fro! the envelope to 'ring the 'alloon down in a controlled descent& In the unli%ely event a 'alloon drops too 3uic%ly& Solar panels:

A s!all 'o6 containing the 'alloon)s electronic e3uip!ent attached with the inflated envelope, li%e the 'as%et that is carried 'y a Google 'alloon& "his 'o6 contains circuit 'oards that control the syste!, radio antennas to co!!unicate with other 'alloons and with Internet antennas on the ground, and 'atteries to store solar power so the 'alloons can operate during the night& "his 'o6 also e3uipped with three powered radio antennas& III. #oon $ec%nolog&

"he technology designed in the pro*ect could allow countries to avoid using e6pensive fi'er ca'le that would have to 'e installed underground to allow users to connect to the Internet& Pro*ect +oon 'alloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather& "hey are carried around the Barth 'y winds and they can 'e steered 'y rising or descending to an altitude with winds !oving in the desired direction 597& People connect to the 'alloon networ% using a special Internet antenna attached to their 'uilding& "he signal 'ounces fro! 'alloon to 'alloon, then to the glo'al Internet 'ac% on Barth&

Figure 2: Solar Panels Bach unit)s electronics are powered 'y an array of solar panels that sits 'etween the envelope and the hardware& In full sun, these panels produce :88 >atts of power ( enough to %eep the unit running while also charging a 'attery for use at night& By !oving with the wind and charging in the sun& Equipments:

Balloon

Solar Panel

'adio antennas

Figure : E!uip"ent

Figure (: Balloon Balloon: Caven Aerostar is our 'alloon design partner and !anufacturer of envelopes and they e6pertise in high altitude 'alloon engineering as well as the latest 'rea%throughs in super pressure 'alloon engineering 5=7& "he 'alloon envelopes co!posed of polyethylene plastic a'out .!il or 8&8D? !! (8&88.8 in) thic%& "he 'alloons are super pressure 'alloons filled with heliu!, and stand :E ! (=F ft) across and :- ! (.F ft) tall when fully inflated& A s!all 'o6 weighing :8 %g (-- l') containing each 'alloon2s electronic e3uip!ent attached with the inflated envelope& "hese 'alloons capa'le of withstanding higher pressure fro! the air inside when the 'alloons reach flat altitude& A parachute attached to the top of the envelope allows for a controller descent and landing whenever a 'alloon is ready to 'e ta%en out of service 'ecause a 'alloon can stay for :88 day at a ti!e 5F7&

'alloons carry instru!ents to !onitor the weather and the conditions around the!, as well as a GP0 to %eep trac% of their flight patterns& "he electronics are powered 'y solar panels, and e6cess power is stored in a rechargea'le 'attery so service can continue during the night& Other systems: A s!all 'o6 containing the 'alloon2s electronic e3uip!ent hangs underneath the inflated envelope, li%e the 'as%et that is carried 'y a hot air 'alloon& "his 'o6 contains circuit 'oards and radio antennas to co!!unicate with other 'alloons and with the internet antennas on the ground&

Communication Equipment: Google 'alloons e3uipped with three radio antennas4 one used for 'alloon to client co!!unication, second is for 'alloon to service provider or !ain ground controlling station as 'ac%up radio that used to co!!unicate with the 'alloons if the others fail or go out of range and third is used for 'alloon to 'alloon co!!unication&

Power Supply: Bach unit of the electronics in the


+oon is powered 'y solar panels that connected 'etween the envelope and the hardware, which are a'out :8 6 !ore power than average laptop 'attery& In full sun these panels produce :88 watts of power enough to %eep the unit running while also charging a 'attery for use at a night& >ith all(day sun guaranteed in the stratosphere, the 'atteries will charge enough to last through the night, allowing for -=6D flying& "he !ost highlighting in the pro*ect +oon is its capa'ility to power itself using renewa'le energy sources i&e& photovoltaic solar power which is consisting of silicon chips that have less power consu!ption )*+. Signal transmission: 0ignals are trans!itted fro! the 'alloons to a specialiGed Internet antenna !ounted to the side of a ho!e or wor%place that use radio fre3uency technology& "he Internet antenna is connected to a consu!er grade router& >e' traffic that travels through the 'alloon networ% is ulti!ately relayed to ground stations, where it)s connected to pre(e6isting Internet infrastructure, li%e fi'er ca'les and our local teleco!!unications partners& Electronics: In addition to the specialiGed radios that provide Internet service to users on the ground,

Balloon movement control: "he positioning of the


+oon fleet is ad*usted and controlled fro! +oon Mission ontrol, using a co!'ination of auto!atic planning and hu!an oversight and GP0 syste!& In addition, the individual 'alloon vehicles perfor! so!e auto!atic flight control functions, such as venting gas to prevent a 'urst or deploying a parachute in case the 'alloon envelope fails& "he 'alloons are ad*usting their altitude to float to a wind layer after identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction using wind data fro! the National Hceanic and At!ospheric Ad!inistration (NHAA) 5::7&

Balloon processors: As per study of the pro*ect


loon software was written in c@@ progra!!ing language and powered with three ACM processor co!puters inside it, each with a different purpose and it !ostly used due to low power consu!ption and wireless internet infrastructure& ACM A:E processor with -&= GIG processing speed for high speed we' surfing with !a6i!iGing the 'attery life& Using ACM M. for wireless networ%ing and sensors, auto!otive control syste!& And ACM M= is e!'edded

processor and used 'ecause of signal processing capa'ilities 5.7&

Balloons networking concept: Google ; have


applied their own networ%ing protocols for loon networ%ing and also enhanced version of IBBB98-&:: which is to i!ple!ent wireless +AN with -&E GIG( E&8 GIG fre3uency 'ands& >hile transiting the 'alloon networ%, data is auto!atically encrypted& "hese 'alloons lin% to each other to for! a !esh networ%, 'ouncing signals off one another until they reach a ground('ased station with a fi'er connection to the Internet 5?7& Also, only specialiGed +oon Internet antennas can access the +oon networ%& I,. #oon -onnections

Jor 'alloon(to('alloon, 'alloon(to(ground station and 'alloon to client co!!unication, the 'alloons use antennas e3uipped with specialiGed radio fre3uency technology& Pro*ect +oon currently uses I0M 'ands (industrial, scientific and !edical radio 'ands) for the use radio fre3uency& +oons are e3uipped with -&= and E&9 GIG I0M 'ands, where -&= GIG is used 'etween the +oon and nodes on the ground i&e& usersKclients whereas E&9GIG used 'etween the loons and the three antennas on the top of the loon 'o6 5D7& "he reason 'ehind using these I0M 'ands are stratosphere layer where at!ospheric changes are very co!!on and that !ay cause wea% radio signal trans!ission 'etween loon to ground antenna for internet access& Iere is the loon connectivity fro! the ground antenna4

Figure *: .etwor/ wor/ing Bach 'alloon can provide connectivity to a ground area a'out :,-E8 s3uare %ilo!eters at speeds co!para'le to .G& ,. #oon "ove"ent

Navigation with the winds:

Figure 0: .avigation wit% winds

Google 'alloons travel around -8 %! a'ove the Barth)s surface in the stratosphere& >inds in the stratosphere are generally steady and slow(!oving at 'etween E and -8 !ph, and each layer of wind varies in direction and !agnitude& Pro*ect +oon uses software algorith!s to deter!ine where its 'alloons need to go then !oves each one into a layer of wind 'lowing in the right direction& By !oving with the wind, the 'alloons can 'e arranged to for! one large co!!unications networ%& Stratosphere:

Balloon life: A pri!ary focus will 'e e6ploring


alternatives for Google 'alloons& As Google 'alloons can stay near 'y :88 days in stratosphere after launching& It)s 'ecause of the regular changes in te!perature and at!osphere& Another and !ain reason 'ehind the short life of 'alloons is less protection fro! U< radiation 'ecause the oGone layer is really thin and protection fro! direct har!ful rays of the 0un is !ini!al 5-7& Jor tea! Google its 'iggest challenge to e6tend the 'alloons life through which it can stay !ore to provide internet access& Signal strength: Internet services are wireless and provided 'y the 'alloons fro! stratosphere where at!ospheric chances are very co!!on and can affect the radio fre3uency trans!ission& 1ue to this there will 'e wea% radio fre3uency signal strength and could cause interference in 'roadcasting high(speed Internet& i!"i connectivity: It)s !o'ile generation and !ost of the internet users access internet services fro! their !o'ile phones& In current scenario !ost of the networ% services provider provide !o'ile internet with =G speed& It will 'e grand challenge for Google to !a%e it popular 'ecause at present there is no direct >i(Ji connectivity fro! 'alloon to !o'ile devices&

Figure 1: Stratosp%ere 0ituated 'etween :8 %! and ?8 %! altitude on the edge of space, the stratosphere is na!ed after the different layers, of wind within it& But the e6tre!e altitude also presents uni3ue engineering challenges4 air pressure is :L of that at sea level, te!peratures hover around (E8M , and a thinner at!osphere offers less protection fro! the U< radiation and te!perature swings caused 'y the sun)s rays& By carefully designing the 'alloon envelope to withstand these conditions, Pro*ect +oon is a'le to ta%e advantage of the steady stratospheric winds, and re!ain well a'ove weather events, wildlife and airplanes& Another reason for the esta'lish!ent of Google Balloons in stratosphere is trans!ission of radio fre3uency waves 'ecause the stratosphere has al!ost no effect on radio waves 5F7& ,I. Grand -%allenges

"light control: Most i!portant and 'iggest challenge for Google is flight control and 'alloon control at a ti!e& If any of 'alloon get failed then to land the 'alloon safely also 'y controlling the air traffic going to 'e 'ig tas%& As it also ta%es !ore than =hours for the successful esta'lish!ent of a single 'alloon in stratosphere till that ti!e it)s re3uired to control all the air traffic& Coverage area: A single 'alloon)s networ% coverage is around :-E8 s3uare %ilo!eter, which !eans the around = la%hs 'alloons are re3uired to cover co!plete earth area& It)s !ost re3uired to wor% on the total coverage area of the 'alloon& ,II. 'ic% Area 2or Future 'esearc%

Balloon control: "he huge challenge for Pro*ect


+oon is to figure out how to !anage a free floating 'alloon fleet 'y !odeling wind patterns and navigating si!ply 'y going up or down to find the right airstrea! 5:87&

"ea! google designing its own IBBB98-&:: standards to develop high speed wireless internet access as co!pared to fi'er ca'le 'ased 'road'and services and to provide >i(Ji connectivity to !o'ile devices& Also Google(6 will loo% for the 'alloon design for its 'etter 3uality through which it can

handle !ore at!ospheric pressure and U< radiation in stratosphere& Another area where google will need to wor% for the auto!ation of 'alloon and flight controlling syste!& ,III. -onclusion

"his paper, significant events in Google Balloons and understanding which have ena'led this technology to 'eco!e progressively !ore capa'le and cost( effective in a growing internet services and applications& >ith additional research and develop!ent, significantly !ore valua'le applications are within reach&