WiFi goes stratospheric... literally

Written by Jason Cundall

October 19, 2005 | 22:54

Tags: #sweden #wifi #york

Think you have a fast connection at the moment? Are you blessed with 8Mbps, or a God-like 24? Well, if tests recently carried out in Sweden by the University of York come to fruition, they'll look as slow as dial-up. How do you fancy 120Mbps via a stratospheric WiFi blimp? Aha. I see I have captured your attention. Read on:

"The latest broadband delivery system has seen researchers looking to the skies to provide super-fast Internet access via airships.

Airships in the stratosphere beaming back broadband capable of speeds up to 120Mbps may seem like fantasy.

But tests in Sweden have suggested it could become a reality within three to five years.

A successful trial of the technology has been conducted by researchers, led by the University of York in the UK.

Trials using a 12,000 cubic metre balloon, flying at an altitude of around 24 kilometres for nine hours, have proved it can successfully operate a data rate link of 11Mbps.

"Proving the ability to operate a high data rate link from a moving stratospheric balloon is a critical step in moving towards the longer term aim of providing data rates of 120Mbps," said Dr David Grace, the project's principal scientific officer."

More from the BBC here.

I have seen mention of HAPS in the past, but this seems to be the first practical field trial of the system, and a successful one at that. Fingers crossed that in the next 5 years we'll all be viewing bit via our hyper-fast balloon-band!

Discuss balloon-band in our high-altitude aerial news forums. Just watch that first step though...
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