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dwl

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  Reply # 837440 15-Jun-2013 23:13
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I can see this might work nearer the equator (as shown in their maps) but in NZ "roaring forties" with typical strong high altitude westerly winds wouldn't you need a new one launched every few hours from the West Coast ? (or probably even more frequent - work out how long a 60 knot wind will take to move it across the whole width of the South Island)

Unfortunately I think this may be taking "availability" to new lows at these latitudes but still good on Google for ideas on getting service to countries like Africa.

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  Reply # 837446 15-Jun-2013 23:30
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dwl: I can see this might work nearer the equator (as shown in their maps) but in NZ "roaring forties" with typical strong high altitude westerly winds wouldn't you need a new one launched every few hours from the West Coast ? (or probably even more frequent - work out how long a 60 knot wind will take to move it across the whole width of the South Island)

Unfortunately I think this may be taking "availability" to new lows at these latitudes but still good on Google for ideas on getting service to countries like Africa.

The idea is that the balloons adjust their altitude to take advantage of different winds, provided that there is a counter wind to the westerlys at some altitude, they would cycle from west to east coast

dwl

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  Reply # 837452 16-Jun-2013 00:02
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nickb800: The idea is that the balloons adjust their altitude to take advantage of different winds, provided that there is a counter wind to the westerlys at some altitude, they would cycle from west to east coast


Sorry nickb800 but I'm afraid that the weather doesn't really work like that, especially in NZ.  The wind will change with altitude but I think the maximum change may be around 70 degrees and often a lot less. What is a westerly at ground level in Canterbury is still roughly a westerly at high altitude where speeds are often fairly high.

The idea of airborne broadband has been around a long time (ElectricNews.net, 25th July 2002): 

"By 2005, people could be receiving mobile phone services, broadband connections and even digital TV from solar-powered airplanes that fly at 65,000 feet. This week, US company SkyTower, a subsidiary of AeroVironment, said it had successfully performed a series of tests in Hawaii of its new technology, a communications airplane called Pathfinder-Plus.  Working with NASA and the Japanese Ministry of Telecommunications, SkyTower said it had launched the plane, which climbed to 65,000 feet above Kauai, Hawaii, and transmitted several hours of 3G mobile voice, data and video service to the ground, where it was received on an NTT DoCoMo 3G handset. Data was transmitted at 384 kbps during the test.

Pathfinder-Plus, with its 121-foot wingspan, is no ordinary airplane. The vehicle is unmanned and runs on solar power, which means it needs to land at night. But the company claims that advances in battery technology could give the airplane the ability to stay airborne 24 hours a day, allowing it to fly for six months at a time. The airplane also has a tight turning radius, which in conjunction with low-cost, stationary user antennas, makes the plane appears geostationary from the ground." 

Where high altitude winds are less the balloons may be a better idea than these expensive aircraft (which haven't yet been commercially viable).

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  Reply # 837527 16-Jun-2013 10:17
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dwl:
nickb800: The idea is that the balloons adjust their altitude to take advantage of different winds, provided that there is a counter wind to the westerlys at some altitude, they would cycle from west to east coast


Sorry nickb800 but I'm afraid that the weather doesn't really work like that, especially in NZ.  The wind will change with altitude but I think the maximum change may be around 70 degrees and often a lot less. What is a westerly at ground level in Canterbury is still roughly a westerly at high altitude where speeds are often fairly high.

The idea of airborne broadband has been around a long time (ElectricNews.net, 25th July 2002): 

"By 2005, people could be receiving mobile phone services, broadband connections and even digital TV from solar-powered airplanes that fly at 65,000 feet. This week, US company SkyTower, a subsidiary of AeroVironment, said it had successfully performed a series of tests in Hawaii of its new technology, a communications airplane called Pathfinder-Plus.  Working with NASA and the Japanese Ministry of Telecommunications, SkyTower said it had launched the plane, which climbed to 65,000 feet above Kauai, Hawaii, and transmitted several hours of 3G mobile voice, data and video service to the ground, where it was received on an NTT DoCoMo 3G handset. Data was transmitted at 384 kbps during the test.

Pathfinder-Plus, with its 121-foot wingspan, is no ordinary airplane. The vehicle is unmanned and runs on solar power, which means it needs to land at night. But the company claims that advances in battery technology could give the airplane the ability to stay airborne 24 hours a day, allowing it to fly for six months at a time. The airplane also has a tight turning radius, which in conjunction with low-cost, stationary user antennas, makes the plane appears geostationary from the ground." 

Where high altitude winds are less the balloons may be a better idea than these expensive aircraft (which haven't yet been commercially viable).

I'm just going on what they said at the launch

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  Reply # 837529 16-Jun-2013 10:27
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Im at the event ask me questions and ill ask them.

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  Reply # 837542 16-Jun-2013 11:05
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leaplae: Im at the even task me questions and ill ask them.


if google is starting to sell internet in nz then is it backhauled to australia/international first, or resold through another isp?

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  Reply # 837547 16-Jun-2013 11:14
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Looking at working with isp's (he kinda didn't answer directly though).

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  Reply # 837548 16-Jun-2013 11:14
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Ah, just the facts eh? The gentleman in my shop with the Google Glass wasn't from Google but was Trey Ratcliff from stuckincustoms.com He was invited by Google to come and take a few photos. Well worth a look at his site if you love photography and want more details on the balloons.

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  Reply # 837553 16-Jun-2013 11:16
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Kiwifan: Ah, just the facts eh? The gentleman in my shop with the Google Glass wasn't from Google but was Trey Ratcliff from stuckincustoms.com He was invited by Google to come and take a few photos. Well worth a look at his site if you love photography and want more details on the balloons.


oh wow ! nice pics.


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  Reply # 837555 16-Jun-2013 11:25
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I read the Herald article on this and Paul Brislen makes this comment which I don't really understand.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10890821

"Brislen said the distance from the ground to the satellite and back down again meant there could be some delays. "That's only a problem if you want to do real-time stuff like audio calls. If you're just downloading a movie or wanting to send an email, it'll be fantastic.""

From my limited reading of the technology, signals are bounced off balloons flying about 20km from earth and between balloon and balloon. That means if you have a terrestrial receiver then the propagation delay between your receiver and the balloon is only about 20,000m/3x10**8 (speed of light) or about .067ms. Double that each way and it's about .12ms which can potentially make life a bit difficult for a gamer but hardly an issue for voice. Between each balloon, allowing for processing times in each balloon, the delay would not be much more than going from server to server terrestrially one would think.

That's quite different from TV broadcasts bouncing off possibly a couple of geocentric orbiting satellites some 37Km above the earth where the propagation delay is quite noticeable.






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  Reply # 837556 16-Jun-2013 11:26
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Lazarui:
mercutio: so google classify christchurch as rural? i suppose it is becoming somewhat of a ghost town.


1. It's Christchurch AND Canterbury.
2. 80% of New Zealand would probably be considered rural to the rest of the world.
3. They probably want to test how it'd work in city area's anyway, as the project has more about it than just getting rural telecommunications access.


They have uplink volunteers in urban Christchurch, I'd assume that they serve rural users via the ballons.



dwl

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  Reply # 837572 16-Jun-2013 12:12
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leaplae: Im at the event ask me questions and ill ask them.

My question is are they serious that they can deliver this service in ths part of the world or it is only a good place to develop the technology for other areas with more suitable weather patterns ?

Latency shouldn't be an issue but if the balloon can't hang around then you don't have a service.

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  Reply # 837574 16-Jun-2013 12:27
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I'm in chch and put my name down, fingers crossed they pick me!

I think i've seen one of the red receivers on someones roof near me already though




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  Reply # 837575 16-Jun-2013 12:28
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Its a good place to develop, as New Zealand is on the right line of latitude to serve south africa and south america. The service is mainly for rural areas not for the city (still working on various ideas to improve performance).

Currently there are 4 balloons in the air, heading to south america.

The balloons operational life without refurb is 3 months.

They operate currently on helium, but hydrogen is a mid term goal.

The CPU are x4 ARM Cortex (I think?)

Currently footprint For internet is 40km, will be improved to horizon to horizon (long term goal)

Would need tens of thousands to work effectively globally.

Looking at launch and recovery via sea as the main way, to stop worrying about aeroplanes and caa/faa/etc

In NZ they have transponders like normal aircraft - somebody track them maybe?

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  Reply # 837576 16-Jun-2013 12:30
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Yeah Paul's comments are out of whack. You the latency to these balloons at 20km is no more than normal cross region/city network delay, compared to geosynchronous satellites that are 33,700km up.

Cyril

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