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Wireless communication has stood out as one of the fastest and rapidly growing segment of the communications industry with the ability to provide highspeed, quality and real-time information exchange between portable devices globally. It is defined basically as information transfer over a distance (without the use of known electrical conductors or cables. It is convenient and often less expensive to deploy relative to the fixed network. This technology has in no little way improved the level and standard of our living in this modern age. Research has shown that the worldwide cellular and personal communication subscriber base went beyond half a billion users in the late 2001 and its been projected to attain a 2 billion mark which is like 30% of the world population by the end 2008

A very good example is the design of next generation cellular networks to facilitate high-speed data communications traffic in addition to voice calls. New technologies and standards are also being implemented to make wireless

networks replace fiber optic and/or copper lines between fixed points that are several kilometers apart known as fixed wireless access. In many geographical areas, mobile telephones are the only economical way for providing phone service to subscribers. Base stations are erected quickly and with low cost compared to the cost involved when digging the ground to lay copper especially in some harsh terrain. Mobile telephones are only a small part of the cellular development; many new types of wireless devices are being introduced. Presently, there cant be said to be a single cellular network. Devices support one or two of a countless number of technologies and generally work within the boundaries of a single operators network. New standards for the next generation wireless devices are being developed, which will use higher frequencies to increase capacity and also help eradicate the problem of incompatibility issues, encountered presently.


The need to improve on the existing bandwidth available for mobile communication devices and application has made researchers and telecommunication experts delve into more technologies that can provides the needed bandwidth. There has been several works on improving the bandwidth provision from satellite and terrestrial communication. While these are unfolding, there has been several other technologies been looked into that could possibly provide a better bandwidth as required by users of these mobile services. The advantages and disadvantages of terrestrial and satellite systems are well known and have been extensively documented in several works over the years. The drawbacks, in particular, have made engineers continuously search for alternative means of making broadband fixed wireless access available to the ever-growing population of users worldwide.


HAPS are, generally, solar-powered, unmanned, remote-operated and electric motorpropelled aerial platforms held in stationary position, at altitudes between the 17 22 Km range above the earths surface (stratospheric layer of the atmosphere) [7]. They are somewhat new and are being proposed as means of providing wireless multimedia communications infrastructure for both metropolitan and remote areas. These platforms carry multipurpose communications relay payload, which can range from a complete base station to just a simple transponder, like we have on most satellites.

Due to an interest in aerial platforms and due to advancement in technology, which have yielded better and stronger materials, which are UV resistant and leak-proof to helium, these airships are making their way back to our world.

HAPs can be considered as being hybrid architecture; they have some zones in common with terrestrial communications, particularly Fixed Wireless Access, but are

similar to satellites in terms of power constraints and general network architecture. In a mobile communication context is the fact it could replace or support the terrestrial network, avoiding problems with environmental impact and electromagnetic pollution. Platform design has several constraints related to the applications to achieve: power available for the payload, stability, and maximum transmit power of the transmitters, link availability and so on.

The history of HAPS has brought about three distinguishable types of proposed aerial vehicles. These types of platforms can be balloons, aircrafts or airships. They are categorized depending on the way they are managed and maintained.

1. Unmanned Airships: these are mainly balloons and are semi-rigid or non-rigidhuge and mainly solar powers balloons, which can be well over 100m in length and could carry a payload of about 800kg or more. This typed of aerial vehicle isaimed at staying up for a period of 5 years or more.

2. Solar-powered unmanned aircraft: These types of aerial vehicles are also known as High Altitude Long Endurance platforms (HALE Platforms) and they make use of Electric motors and propellers as propulsion while during the day, they get power supply from solar cells mounted on their wings and stabilizers which also charge the on-board fuel cells. There has not been an agreed span of flight duration for this category of vehicles but proposals declare that they can stay aloft for six months or more. 3. Manned aircraft: this category of vehicles has average flight duration of some hours, which is mainly due to the fuel constraints and human factors.

Table 2.1. Comparison of airships, solar-powered unmanned and manned aircraft . Airships (Unmanned) Size Total weight Power source Flight duration Length 150 200m 30 ton Solar cell (+ fuel cell) 5 years SolarPowered unmanned aircraft Wingspan 35 - 70m 1 ton Solar cell (+ fuel cell) Unspecified (6months) 3KM 50-300kg 3kW Manned aircraft Length 30m 2.5 ton Fossil fuel 8 hours 10KM 1000kg 20kW HALO (Angel techn ologies)

Position keeping 1km (radius) Mission payload 1000-2000kg Powerfor mission Examples 10kW

Japan,Korea,China Helios, Pathfinder ATG,Lockheed Plus, HeliPlat Martin, Skystation, (HeliNet project) ESA

2.4System Architecture:
For establishing HAP based communications, we require Aerial Network (platform) Ground Station.

HAP Architecture: The challenging task in designing the system is to provide lightweight architecture because heavy vehicles are difficult to be positioned. It is designed in such a way that is should have high reliability, low power consumption, minimum weight and size. Some of the airborne components are a) Multichannel transponder, 4

b) User beam and feeder beam antennas, c) Associated antenna interfaces and d) Asynchronous Transfer mode (ATM) Switch.

Energy requirements: One of the important considerations in establishing HAPs is the energy requirements of the platform. This is met either from conventional fuel which is

transported from ground or through solar panels established on the wide board of platform. It is important not only to produce energy but also to store it for the night when solar energy is not available. Batteries made of lithium ion [3] cannot be used because it enormously increases weight. Most of the energy produced is used in positioning the HAP at the required altitude opposing the wind. The remaining should be used in supporting payloads and all other functions. Ground Station Installations: Ground Stations are of conventional type, which in addition should be able to track the position of the HAP. The tracking algorithm uses as input, a control signal from HAP, which includes the HAP displacement.

2.5 Communications through HAPs: (a) Spectrum Allocation: Several frequency bands over 25GHz have been allocated to Local Multi point Distribution System (LMDS) types of services. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has allocated the 57.2 57.5 GHz and 57.9 58.2 GHz bands for HAP applications. In Asia, the 28/31 GHz band was instead assigned, as the 57/58 GHz band is susceptible to rain attenuation. (b) Cellular Architecture: The efficiency of HAP depends on the frequency reusability of the given bandwidth. The geographical area of coverage is divided into cells in such a way that entire area is covered. There should be no interference between two cells of same frequency. Each cell on the ground is covered by one spot beam. If the platform is in

motion then the spot beam that covers a particular cell changes with time. This time of coverage of beam is called dwell time . Beam to beam handover arises in such cases.

Figure 2.1: Cellular frequency reuse concept. In (b) the smaller cells provide greater overall capacity as frequencies are reused a greater number of times within a given geographical area. HAP services can also be extended by gateways. They communicate with HAP and link them to other networks like terrestrial and satellites. With the increased traffic HAP can efficiently provide services with backhaul links through satellites.

2.6 HAP Performance:

HAP has very favourable path loss characteristics relative to terrestrial and satellite systems. In Figure 3.3, a typical path loss vs. distance is shown for terrestrial and non-terrestrial systems. Even LEO distances cause path loss comparable to large

terrestrial cell. Path loss of a LEO satellite at 900 km altitude is equal to the path loss along the ground at 10 km distance. By contrast, from an airship at an altitude of 22 km to a ground point directly below it is same as at the edge of relatively small terrestrial cell with 2 km radius. For a HAP to maintain same quality of service (QOS) and same signal to noise ratio (SNR) as terrestrial network, the gain on HAP is to be increased because SNR PXG/Rn where P is the transmitting power, G the gain and R the distance between transmitter and receiver antennas.

Figure 2.2: Attenuation in free-space and terrestrial type propagation

2.7HAPS compared with other systems

At first, HAP had been modeled not as the successor to either the terrestrial or satellite systems but as a complementary system. However, the potential of stand-alone HAPs systems is an attractive one in communications research. It does share attributes with its satellite and terrestrial counterparts but HAP has its advantages.

2.7.1 Compared with Terrestrial Services 1) Replace extensive ground-based infrastructure HAP can provide multi-cellular services over a large area (390km) Reduced cost, risk, and site acquisition problems Environmental impact Installation/ maintenance overhead No need for local terrestrial backbone 2) Better propagation in many scenarios Unobstructed line of sight paths Large system capacity, through: Use of mm-bands (e.g. 600 MHz BW @ 58GHz) Flexible adaptive resource allocation Rapid deployment 2.7.2 Compared with Satellite Services Larger overall system capacity: Small spot beams (cells) readily feasible without huge on-board antennas Close range/ low delay Lower cost No launch vehicle Less demanding than space systems

2.8 Challenges
There are also a few challenges and issues that have arisen due to the novelty of communication via HAPs. They are:1) Maintaining the nominal position of HAPs in the face of variable prevailing wind is a challenge that will critically affect the viability of communications services via HAPs. Also, the turbulence in the stratosphere will lead to roll, pitch and yaw of the platform and here, larger crafts are likely to exhibit greater stability. Electronic steering of an array antenna and mechanically stabilized sub-platforms are two of the methods being proposed for maintenance of stability for antenna pointing on the HAP. 2) Most HAP schemes will use multiple spot beams over the coverage area leading to greater capacity through frequency reuse. Thus, provision will have to be made for the possibility of handoff which may arise when platform motion leads to movement of the antenna beam. The size of the cells and the physical stability of the HAP will govern how often handoffs will occur. 3) Rain attenuation is significant in these bands. Therefore, there is a need for the extensive collection and analysis of rainfall attenuation and scattering statistics. This problem is dealt with in the thesis. 4) Power. A HAP needs to stay up in the air for at least 1 month to be feasible. NASA is developing a technology that uses a hybrid solar-hydrogen panel for his purpose

Fig. 2.3. HAP Power Source 8


Figure 3.1: HAP communications scenario

The figure depicts a general HAP Architecture and communication scenario. A single HAP with up- and downlinks to user terminals can be used to provide services along with a backhaul link if required. HAPs may also be interconnected in a network of HAPs and a satellite link may also provide direct connections from the HAP. Some researchers and authors have found out that HAPs could cover a whole country giving specific examples of 16 HAPs covering the whole of Japan with a minimum elevation angle of 10 and that 18 HAPs would cover the whole of Greece including all the Islands. The lower the minimum elevation angle of HAPs, the larger the coverage area enjoyed but this gives rise to a higher propagation or blocking loss at the edge of the servicing area.

Broadband Wireless Access, a minimum elevation angle of 5 is expected but it is more commonly acceptable to have a minimum elevation angle of 15 to avoid or guard against excessive ground clutter problems. This implies that for example, a platform placed at an altitude of 20Km (HAPs altitude) will have a coverage of 200km 9

approximately. However, ground stations that connect HAPs network with other terrestrial networks can be placed on roofs of buildings The diagram below depicts the radius of the maximum coverage area with respect to HAP altitude.

Fig. 3.2. HAP coverage area

The coverage region served by a high altitude platform is essentially determined by lineof-sight propagation (particularly at higher frequency bands) and the minimum angle of elevation at the ground terminal. In general, user terminals in a HAPs system are classified along the broad line of elevation angles as follows;

3.1 Services and Applications

HAPs have an advantage over terrestrial networks in the area of multicasting where the many of the benefits of GEO satellites are provided in addition to uplink channels for interactive video and internet access. HAPs also serve well in areas with low population e.g. islands, oceans, developing towns, etc where the cost per subscriber in terrestrial systems will be too high for the low traffic densities because of the access points needed to cover these areas. Communication services provided by HAPs are broadly divided into low data rate services for mobile terminals and high data rate services for fixed terminals. Some of them are listed below:


1. The main application for HAPs is the Broadband Fixed Wireless Access, which is capable of providing very high data rates to the user. 2. The use of 3G bands. Even the 2G services can be comfortably deployed via HAPs. One HAPs base-station fitted with a wide-beamwidth antenna or a number of directional antennae covering smaller cells can serve a very wide area .

3.2 Analysis of Interference in HAPS

An important issue when discussing communication system is Interference. Considering our present study, HAPS, interference is caused by antennas serving cells on the same channel and arises from overlapping main lobes or side loves. Two main kinds of interference can be said to happen in HAPS. The first is the interference originating from the users of the HAP-based network and the other one is the one from and to terrestrial or satellite systems sharing the same adjacent frequency bands. When discussing the first case of interference, we need to take into consideration the differences between the Interfere nce that occurs in HAPs network and what happens in the Satellite and Terrestria network. Its been discovered that Terrestrial systems are generally

interference limited but not easy to say what the interference level will be in different places as they greatly depend on terrain and building patterns. In disparity, propagation in HAPS systems is achieved mainly through free space (free space loss and so on. thus the interference levels can be predicted and assumed easily and successfully.

3.3 Antennas for HAPS

A very good performance factor for HAPS lies in the Antenna system. Researchers in HAPS systems have stated some required functions for a successful broadband HAP antenna and they are listed below:

1) Use of high radio frequency in order to secure a sufficient bandwidth. 2) Directional antenna with a high gain to cope with attenuation in high frequencies. Its been found out that co-channel cells are interference limited by antenna beam overlap. Minimization of interference can be attained by side lobe minimization. Beam forming can use either phased-array antennas or lightweight, possible inflatable parabolic dishes with mechanical steering.


3) Multibeam antenna that accommodates 100 beams or more, both for transmission and reception, to cover views as wide as 120 or more from the stratosphere with a high gain and to achieve effective use of the frequencies involved. 5) Cancellation of the influences of altitude position variations of the HAP on the footprint on the ground by means of beam control. 5) Reduced weight, size, and power consumption of the mission payload. 6) Must operate reliably in the stratospheric environment.

Fig. 3.3. HAP antenna

3.4 Transmission and Coding techniques for HAPS

In every communication system, it is very important to consider the Transmission/Coding techniques used. The known modulation techniques in

communication systems are QPSK, QAM, GMSK, BPSK e.t.c. The main goal is to develop a range of modulation/coding schemes, suitable to serve the broadband telecommunication services applicable under different attenuation. conditions. These will have to vary from low rate schemes involving powerful Forward Error Correction (FEC) coding when attenuation is severe, up to high rate multilevel modulation schemes when channel conditions are good.



Rain attenuation effects are negligible at the range of 2GHz, they are prevalent at higherfrequencies especially above 20GHz. Rain attenuates the signal by scattering or absorbing radiation. Research has shown that for HAP availability of 99.9% and above, rain is the dominant attenuation factor. Other factors, such as clouds, water vapour, oxygen offer less variability and hence do not contribute at availabilities above 99%.However, with this effect known, it is possible to ameliorate the rain effects. An increase in the signal power has been found to be a good method to overcome rain attenuation but it does not reduce interference whereas, an increase in the number of reuse channels reduces interference by reducing the number of neighboring co-channel cells affected by rain.

4.1 Solution
Different Modulation techniques are affected by attenuation differently. In the technique such as BPSK attenuation affect is less than a more complex than QPSK or OQPSK. However, OQPSK enables data flow. So in normal weather situation, OQPSK is the ideal choice for HAP communication. However during rainfall less complex technique such as BPSK and DBPSK is more suitable. So the proposed solution is to implement a feedback system. There will be digital modems setup in the ground. The computers connected with the digital modems will have calculated the power of the signal and therefore the SNR value. Then the computer will send the SNR value back to the HAP. The antenna that is beaming over this particular cell will change its modulation technique accordingly.


4.2 Simulation of HAP system

Fig. 4.1. HAP simulation

Coding for the block that switches the modulation technique (Level-1 M file S function)


function [sys,x0,str,ts]=noise_sfcn(t, x, u, flag, Cint, Tint) % Dclaration des variable switch flag case 0 % initialize str=[] ; ts = [0 0] ; s = simsizes ; s.NumContStates = 2 ; s.NumDiscStates = 0 ; s.NumOutputs = 2 ; s.NumInputs = 1 ; s.DirFeedthrough = 0 ; s.NumSampleTimes = 1 ; sys = simsizes(s) ; x0 = [Cint, Tint]; case 1 % derivatives N=500; k=10; D=1000; Fe=k*D; te=1/Fe; A=-10; flag=0; for i=1:N*k, Tet(i)=te*i; end sys = 0; F=[0:(N*k)-1]*Fe/(N*k); [M]=noise(Signal,SNR); ; sys = [Cint Tint]; case 3 % output sys = x; case {2 5 9} % 2:discrete 15

% 5:calcTimeHit % 9:termination sys =[]; otherwise error(['unhandled flag =',num2str(flag)]) ; end function [sys,x0,str,ts] = mdlInitializeSizes % Call function simsizes to create the sizes structure. sizes = simsizes; % Load the sizes structure with the initialization information. sizes.NumContStates= 0; sizes.NumDiscStates= 0; sizes.NumOutputs= 1; sizes.NumInputs= 1; sizes.DirFeedthrough=1; sizes.NumSampleTimes=1; % Load the sys vector with the sizes information. sys = simsizes(sizes); % x0 = []; % No continuous states % str = []; % No state ordering % ts = [-1 0]; % Inherited sample time % End of mdlInitializeSizes. function [y]=noise(signal,SNR) output= awgn(signal,SNR) if (SNR>=0 && SNR<=10) y=1 elseif (SNR>10 && SNR<=20) y=2 elseif (SNR>20 && SNR<=30) y=3 else 16

y=5 end Coding for modulation block that with an external SNR parameter (Level-2 M file S function) setup(block); function setup(block) block.NumDialogPrms = 1; %% Register number of input and output ports block.NumInputPorts = 2; block.NumOutputPorts = 1; %% Setup functional port properties to dynamically %% inherited. block.SetPreCompInpPortInfoToDynamic; block.SetPreCompOutPortInfoToDynamic; block.InputPort(1).Dimensions = 1; block.InputPort(1).DirectFeedthrough = false; block.InputPort(2).Dimensions = 1; block.OutputPort(1).Dimensions = 1; %% Set block sample time to inherited block.SampleTimes = [.1 0]; %% Register methods block.RegBlockMethod('PostPropagationSetup', @DoPostPropSetup); block.RegBlockMethod('InitializeConditions', @InitConditions); block.RegBlockMethod('Outputs', @Output); block.RegBlockMethod('Update', @Update); %endfunction function DoPostPropSetup(block) %% Setup Dwork block.NumDworks = 1; block.Dwork(1).Name = 'x0'; block.Dwork(1).Dimensions = 1; block.Dwork(1).DatatypeID = 0; block.Dwork(1).Complexity = 'real'; 17

block.Dwork(1).UsedAsDiscState = true;

%endfunction function InitConditions(block) %% Initialize Dwork block.Dwork(1).Data = block.DialogPrm(1).Data; %endfunction function Output(block) block.OutputPort(1).Data = block.Dwork(1).Data; %endfunction function Update(block) block.Dwork(1).Data = awgn(block.InputPort(1).Data, block.InputPort(2).Data); %endfunction

4.3 Simulation results

SNR 10 5 2 1 0.75 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.1

BPSK 0 0 0.0512 0.077 0.773 0.7738 0.08285 0.08876 0.09259

DBPSK 0 0.01093 0.0977 0.1529 0.1558 0.1607 0.1657 0.1598 0.1618

QPSK 0 0.07105 0.1839 0.255 0.25 0.256 0.2781 0.2781 0.2832

OQPSK 0.5076 0.5565 0.5757 0.5952 0.5925 0.5952 0.5971 0.5971 0.588

Fig. 4.2. BER for different values of SNR(table)


Fig. 4.3. BER for different values of SNR(graph)

4.4 Simulation Discussion

In the simulation, an awgn channel block is used as the fading channel. Four different modulation techniques were tested. As seen from Fig. 3.2 it is seen the less the SNR the bit error rate is more. Comparing the for modulation techniques used (BPSK, DBPSK, QPSK and OQPSK) is seen that OQPSK modulation technique the error rate is to high for satisfactory communication. During high levels of attenuation the error rate increases in all 5 cases. From the BER graph in Fig 3.3 it is seen that the BER (bit error rate) for QPSK is higher than DBPSK, which is higher than BPSK for all attenuation levels especially the higher levels. So BPSK should be the ideal choice. However the data rate for QPSK is higher than DBPSK, which is higher than BPSK. So for normal conditions where there is less attenuation and high SNR, QPSK can be used because as seen from the graph the BER is acceptable for QPSK modulation in high SNR conditions. In the simulation in Figure 3.1 the SNR is read by the switch block that decides the modulation technique is suitable for transmission taking the attenuation level in 19

consideration. Maintaining the integrity is the number one concern in this simulation during low SNR (rainfall condition) values the modulation technique is changed to keep the error rate low sacrificing the speed. However when the SNR is high (clear sky condition) block changes the modulation back to modulation technique where the data transmission rate high and the BER is higher but still acceptable. Since high speed communication is an integral part of HAP it is necessary to maintain a modulation technique that will ensure high data rate. The modulation technique is only changed when SNR is low and data integrity is in stake, which occurs only in adverse weather conditions such as rainfall.



HAP communications have a number of potential benefits over terrestrial and satellite systems. Some of them are as follows.

5.1. Flexibility to respond to traffic demands:

HAPs are ideally suited to the provision of centralized adaptable resource allocation, i.e. flexible and responsive frequency reuse patterns and cell sizes, unconstrained by the physical location of base stations. Such almost real time adaption should provide greatly increased overall capacity compared with current fixed terrestrial schemes or satellite systems.

5.2. Low cost:

HAPs are cheaper to construct and launch than a Geostationary satellite or a constellation of LEO satellites. A HAP network is also cheaper to deploy than a

terrestrial network with large number of base stations.

5.3. Less Attenuation due to rain:

Compared to terrestrial networks, due to geometry of HAP deployment, longrange links experience relatively little rain attenuation over the same distance (see Figure 3.5). This is because in the terrestrial communication there is much loss due to

geographic terrain.

Figure 5.1: Slant path in rain. The attenuated portion may be shorter from a HAP than from a terrestrial base-station.


5.5. Payload upgrading:

Unlike satellites, HAPs can be brought down periodically for maintenance and upgrading of the payload, this is a positive feature allowing a high degree of future proofing.

5.5. Incremental deployment:

HAP network can be expanded gradually as greater coverage or capacity is required. This is in contrast to a LEO satellite network, which requires a large number of satellites to achieve continuous coverage; a terrestrial network is likely to require a significant number of base stations.

5.6. Rapid deployment:

It is possible to design, implement and deploy a new HAP based service relatively quickly. Satellites on the other hand take several years from initial construction to launching and to start its operation. Similarly deployment of terrestrial networks may involve time consuming planning procedures and civil works. Compared with HAP, establishing a terrestrial tower is easy. But considered over an area it is easier to establish a HAP than many towers for forming a network.

5.7. Broad band services:

To deliver broadband wireless services terrestrial will require considerably more infrastructure than that for mobile communication. To achieve the band width the mm wavebands will be needed. Line of sight (LOS) transmission is required, implying a micro base station on every street. One HAP might service an area of 150 km diameter with 20 ground stations for backhauling purposes.

5.8. Less ground based infrastructure:

A single HAP can serve a large number of cells limited primarily by its antenna technology. The economic implication of replacing large number of ground station (and their backhaul links) can be significant.


5.9. Low propagation delay:

The delay from a HAP is negligible compared with satellites, with advantages for data and internet traffic throughput, interactive applications and protocol constraints. Thus HAP technology would have many of the advantages of both terrestrial and satellite systems, while at the same time avoiding many of their pitfalls. Table 3.2 summarizes the key points in the different wireless systems. Table 5.1: Comparison of terrestrial, satellite and HAP networks Terrestrial wireless Availability Huge cellular and cost of PCS market mobile drives high terminals volumes resulting in small, low cost, low power units. Propagatio n delay Not an issue. Issue Satellite Specialized, most stringent requirements lead to expensive, bulky terminals with short battery life. High Altitude Platform Terrestrial terminals applicable.

Causes noticeable impairment in voice communications in GEO (and MEO to some extent). High power handsets due to large path losses (possibly alleviated by careful antenna design).

Not an issue.

Health concerns with radio emissions from handsets Communic ations technology risk

Low power handsets minimize concerns.

Power levels like in terrestrial systems (except for large coverage areas).

Mature technology and well established industry.

Considerable new technology for LEOs and MEOs; GEOs still lag cellular/PCS in volume, cost, and performance.

Deploymen t time

Deployment can be staged; substantial

Terrestrial wireless technology, supplemented with spot beam antennas; if widely deployed, opportunities for specialized equipment (scanning beams to follow traffic). Service cannot start One platform and before the entire system ground support typically 23

initial build-out to provide sufficient coverage for commercial service.

is deployed.

enough for initial commercial services.

Issue System growth

Breadth of geographic al coverage Operation complexity and cost

Terrestrial wireless Cell-splitting to add capacity, requiring system reengineering; easy equipment update/repair. A few kilometers per base station.

Satellite System capacity increased only by adding satellites; hardware upgrade only with replacement satellites. Large regions in GEO, global for LEO and MEO. High for GEOs, and especially LEOs due to continual launches to replace old or failed satellites. Generally not available (high power signals in Iridium to trigger ringing only for incoming calls). Single gateway collects traffic from a large area.

High Altitude Platform Capacity increase through spot beam resizing, and additional platforms; equipment upgrades relatively easy. Hundreds of kilometers per platform.


Some proposals require frequent landings of platforms (to refuel or to rest pilots). Substantial coverage possible.

Indoor coverage

Substantial coverage achieved.

Communic ations and power infrastructu re; real estate Public safety concern about flying objects

Numerous base stations should be sited, power and linked by cables or microwave. Not an issue.

Comparable to satellites.

Occasional concern Large craft floating or about space junk falling flying overhead can to earth. raise significant objections.



6.1. Platform station keeping:

The ITU has recommended that the platform has to be Geostationary with in a location sphere of 500m radius. This may prove easier for airships rather than planes. The HeliNet project has chosen to specify a location cylinder with tolerances 99% and 99.9% of time (Figure 3.5).

Figure 6.1: Preliminary HeliPlat location cylinder for 99% and 99.9% of time

6.2. Handoff:
Most HAP schemes are proposing to use multiple spot beams over the coverage area allowing frequency reuse, thereby increasing capacity. The size of the cells on the ground and the stability of the platform antenna array govern how often handoffs will occur. Handoffs are widely used in mobile phone networks to provide continuous

coverage to moving users. With HAP architecture, users may be fixed but the HAP will be moving. Therefore handoffs can be more easily handled, as movements of the

platforms are likely to be more predictable. Also the dwell time is likely to be much larger which means handoffs should occur less frequently.


6.3. Power constraints:

The major constraint on HAPs is the efficiency of fuel cell technology. Fuel cells have to be able to supply the power at night to the craft. Restriction on the power available to the payload is most acute for solar powered plane technology. The area available to the solar cells and fuel cell technology limits the power. At higher altitudes, the variation in the angle of the sun relative to the solar panels between summer and winter will have an additional significant effect. Power can be used more effectively particularly through careful spot beam and antenna array design and power efficient modulation schemes.

6.4. Angular variations of base station antennas:

The below figure illustrates the angular variation in the position of a HAP as seen from the ground as a function of ground distance (defined as distance away from the point immediately below the centre of the location cylinder). HAP movement can be horizontal or vertical. This angular variation is used to determine whether fixed or steerable ground based antennas are required. If the angular variation is greater than the beam width then the antennas must be steerable. The greatest angular variation is immediately below the HAP. However, it may be possible to use wider antenna beam widths at these points due to shorter path length. Changes in vertical height cause large angular variation at short and long distances. At long ground distances, this change is of greater significance because vertical height changes make up a larger proportion of the angular variation.

Figure 6.2: Angular variations in the position of a HAP on the ground as a function of ground distance, for worst-case horizontal and vertical HAP displacements [5].


6.5. Scattering from rain:

As well as absorbing radiation, rain can also degrade link performance by scattering radiation from its intended destination cell to the other co-channel cell as shown in Figure 3.7. To deliver 99.99% availability, high gain and narrow beam width ground station antennas are required. This precludes significant Carrier to Interference ratio (CIR) reduction through rain scatter.

Figure 6.3: Geometry of bistatic scatter



7.1. High Power Applications:

a) 3G Mobile: 3rd Generation services from HAPs will enable rapid deployment, with potential capability to rollout over an area the size of London practically overnight. This would be of particular use not only for new entrants to the market, but will also be useful for existing operators who will require to make considerable investment to upgrade existing infrastructure. HAPs can complement existing terrestrial infrastructure, for example they can be used to fill areas that are uneconomic to serve terrestrially and areas subject to short-term high traffic demands.

b) Broadband services: Broadband services can be easily provided for homes and small offices at reasonable prices directly from HAP, which are in line of sight with HAP.

7.2. Low Power Applications:

a) Communications for primary businesses:\ Primary businesses such as oil, gas and mining industries often operate in remote areas, however, they are often split across several sites and all require a variety of communications. HAPs have the advantage over satellite of being close to the ground, so can benefit in easy installations and portable ground terminal antennas. HAPs could provide such companies with their entire communication needs within in 150km diameter, such as broadcast TV, high data rate communication mobile services.


b) Event or emergency servicing: HAPs could be deployed to service event, for example major sporting fixtures, pop concerts etc. They provide emergency communications after natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes. They can also be used for short-term military applications.

7.3 Developments across the world:

Even with all the promise of HAPs, there is still a lot of work ahead and some are cautious about their eventual use. The operation plans for various platforms are under scrutiny for their safety and reliability from the regulatory agencies. While the concept is great when all goes as planned, they want to make sure systems are developed to operate safely even when everything goes wrong.

Here are some of the major projects underway around the world. 7.3.1. SkyNet: One of the large airship programs SkyNet has been underway in Japan since 1998. Like many of the other projects engaged in HAPs research, it is funded primarily by local government and assisted through a number of research organizations. The expectations are to realize a commercial broadband platform around 2005.

7.3.2. SkyTower: Based in US, SkyTower is testing a High Altitude solar powered aircraft to deliver communication services. They are teamed with AeroVironment, the designers of Helios solar plane. Helios recently set a world record for altitude and has shown a lot of promise for an unmanned communication platform. Development of efficient fuel cells to keep Helios flying longer and receiving Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) certification of the aircraft are a few of the remaining hurdles.


Figure 7.1: The Helios Aircraft.

7.3.3. HeliNet: This project also includes a solar powered aircraft called HeliPlat. Funded by the European Commission, a team at the University of York is leading the research in broadband communication applications with HAPs. In addition to communications

HeliNet is looking at commercial possibilities in environmental monitering and vehicle localization as well.

Figure 7.2: Artist's impression of HeliPlat

7.3.4. HALO: Angel Technologies is most likely candidate to deploy a HAP for communications in the near future. Their High Altitude Long Operation (HALO) networks is based upon a manned aircraft with pilots operating on 8 hour shifts, making it a much lower risk than 30

the other concepts. The HALO Proteus aircraft has been flying since 1998, so they have a well-proven platform that has been tested extensively.

Figure 7.3: The HALO Proteus aircraft.

7.3.5. Platform Wireless: A publicly trade corporation, their Airborne Relay Communications (ARC) system has received a substantial progress during recent trials in US and Brazil. Their HAPs solution involves a tethered airship that is anchored by 15000-foot cable. The system aims to deliver range of cellular communications to over 125000 subscribers in Brazil. 7.3.6. HALE: It is an unmanned aeronautical vehicle. The European Space Agency is currently conducting an assessment study on High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) platform technology. The aim is to evaluate potential synergies with space applications and to produce a basis for recommendations on the future role of the agency in the field.


HAPs will be of considerable interest for wireless communications. Their position in the sky will give them many of the favorable characteristics of satellites but without the distance penalty. This would also let them avoid the radio ground scatter of terrestrial based systems, while still being about as close, in terms of path loss, as terrestrial antennas. Thus indoor coverage should not be a problem, as it is with LEO satellites. Since they collect traffic into single point on ground, HAPs would reduce the amount on geographic extent of ground-based equipment. HAPs would be more accessible for repairs and upgrades. The minimum system size for a single HAP corresponds well to a metropolitan marketing region facilitating rapid initial deployment for coverage, so that commercial service can be started. The vantage point of HAP and the centralization of their beam forming apparatus would open new possibilities for smart antenna technology such as beam scanning. The optimal heights proposed for different stations all over the country are in the range of 18 21 km.