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Thank you +Josh Rogner for your question about the balloon planning algorithms.  Our team had the same question at the start of the project: can balloons that are constantly moving around in the stratosphere provide stable Internet coverage to people on the ground?  To explore this question, Dan, one of our Rapid Evaluators, created a simulation that uses hypothetical balloons and real-world wind data.  In his model, areas with no coverage appear dark blue, while areas with good coverage are light blue.  The results have been promising.

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Wow, that's really cool. I figured it was a grid of some sort but to see it working is amazing. The color grid to depict altitude is really neat. Thanks for sharing!
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Dito.
 
+Project Loon im learning about this technology thanks to your Google handle here. Thanks so much for acknowledging and answering readers. 
 
So how many balloons are we talking about that will be needed in the sky?  It's hard to put into perspective from the simulation itself.  Would these balloons be limited to a range of altitudes/specific limited airspace?  Maybe I am missing the obvious but how are these balloons not going to pollute our sky with tons of obstacles?  
 
+Steve Albright They fly thousands of feet above the highest airplanes, so they're out of the way completely. I guess they could get in the path of subpace rockets in the future though! I'm sure there will be intelligent systems to "route" them around transportation.
 
i cant wait to test it in bs as argentina!
 
I am much more concerned by the "last mile". In a lot developing countries, communication business is booming and it's very lucrative. It's also often in the hands of a group of people tightly conncected to the politicians.
This project could threaten the business of the big telecoms who make billions with overpriced low bandwidth internet. So their strategy will be to get the last mile and I am afraid it will be also a bottle neck in this project. 
 
My one and only concern is the availability of helium, the gas will naturally leak out of the balloons material over time and work its way into the upper atmosphere where it will eventually be stripped away by solar winds. As such, here are a few questions:

Are we able to produce enough helium (or other buoyant gasses) to offset this loss?

Is there a way we can make the balloon material in such a way that the gas particles can not escape as quickly or at all?
 
+Project Loon I've heard that Helium will eventually run out someday.
What alternatives other than Helium you guys will use when it is not available (too expensive or not enough)?
 
A vision to make a skeleton inside the balloon support, to reach a predetermined height directly after deprived of air with a vacuum pump, so that you can stay in the air forever. I use Google in English translation, I hope you can understand.
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Here is a question! If these balloons comes over such countries like north Korea, China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, etc. What happens if these guys decide to gun down them?
 
That's really worth an Info !
I have to take a seminar on Project loon next week..
This Helps..
 
+Nicolas Chan helium has an atomic number of 2, this means that there are just 2 protons (and thus some number of neutrons and electrons). Alpha decay from radioactive material is actually just a helium-4 that is produced as a heavy element's prodtons escape the strong force in what we call decay. So in essence, we can easily produce a helium isotopes (variant) as a byproduct of many many processes already in place for energy production. 

Think of it this way, 1 atom of thorium (atomic weight of 90 protons) has 45 atoms of helium waiting to be separated from it, however the strong force currently makes it difficult to get anywhere near that yield.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_particle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_interaction

As for other elements, anything that is lighter than oxygen/nitrogen could work as a lifter for the balloons. This includes hot air, neon, water vapor, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_than_air 

Hope this helps answer your questions. There was a lot of information for a pretty simple curiosity huh.
 
I have a question about the role out: Eventually you will need to have a system on the ground too. How are you reaching out to the poorest of the poor? Have you also thought of people with disabilities? For both groups (and there is a lot of overlap between these groups) access to internet could have a enormous impact. Think of children that cannot go to school because of mobility problem, or people with a visual impairment that make use of voice recognition. Are you planning to work together with NGOs and civil society groups? Just curious to hear more about the eventual impact of this project for the people who could benefit most! Hope to hear from you.
 
+Matthijs Nederveen , this what I meant by last mile. And Google doesn't want to get involved in it. The authorizations for wireless communication are depending on telecom agencies which are often linked and lobbied by isp and telecom companies.
 
"Algorithms" - I love the sound of it | Love the whole idea about it!
 
+Olivier Malinur You reach almost anywhere if you use base if the pyramid method for marketing and sales (sell in small packages) and let villages use a common receiver. I am curious to hear from Google how they think about this non-technical aspect if the project.
 
In their previous presentation, it was clear they won't take care of this famous last mile.
Plus there are legal issues in this. You cannot broadcast in a country without any licence/permit. 
 
How are you providing connectivity to balloon it self ? using vsat ? Are there chances of improving internet speed from 3mbps (3g) to 10 or 100mbps ? #AskAway #projectloon  
 
+Mahendra Yadav The connection to the balloon network is via ground base stations as satellite would introduce too much latency. Lower latency is one of the major advantages of Loon over satellite systems. Regarding the internet speed, I don't think Google have stated what the speed will be, other than to suggest that it will be in the range of 3G, which technically is around 384kbps. The 3Mbps you refer to is HSDPA, which is an enhancement to 3G. Even a 384kbps connection with low latency would be a major step forward for most of the locations that Loon is targeting. Increasing the speed of the connection will decrease the number of users that can be connected to the network. Remember this project is targeting low population densities in remote locations with a basic internet connection. It is not intended to provide high speed connections on par with cable or FTTH.
 
Yes, this is important to remember that Loon target is not the populations of USA or Europe but for developing countries, to give everyone a correct internet access.
 
+Project Loon Hey guys, I'm unaware if this has been answered yet - but looking at the big antennas mounted on the receiver's houses, will it ever be possible to get Loon internet access on mobile devices directly? Or might there be Loon connected ground stations in remote areas which then make the signal available to mobile users? How will Loon reach all those without 'homes' but with smartphones?
 
+Christian Gaillard As of now it is not possible to access without fixed subscriber equipments as in antenna and router which can be connected to wifi router. But wimax (4g) enabled phones will be able to connect directly in near future.
 
How do the balloons steer when the winds are moving in 4d.?
what if the balloon power will be wasted when they are under oceans which is 78% of total earths area ! ??
How do the balloons go specifically to houses which have antenna..?
what if the wind is not there?
or how does balloon  know where to go..?

Please respond to my doubts..!
 
+Jerald Sabu  The balloons will be powered by solar so power won't be an issue.
One balloon can cover about 40 KM area with multiple subscriber so there's no limitation of one balloon per house. In case of no wind, balloon is powered by fans to decide movements and they will be managed by algorithm so they know where to go.
 
+Mahendra Yadav 
I would like to know, How do they decide according to algorithms..?
Any wind sensors in the balloon..?
 
Hello, my friend and I are writing a business paper related to CSV(Creating Shared Values), and we've chosen Google's Project Loon as our prominent example. Can you tell us how much a balloon will cost approximately? we're trying to compare the price with other internet access methods such as satellite internet access. Thanks!
 
when we have more news coverage as in new countries, test in another country?
 
+Project Loon 
Can any one explain how will the balloon navigate through the wind, when it moves in different directions varying with time...?
 
Oi, assim que iniciar os testes no Brasil, me ofereço para testar o serviço.

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cmrluiz1@gmail.com

+552797806975

Tenho força de vontade em aprender novas tecnologias
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That was very informative.But can u please explain about your customized antennas used for this project and how did u guys managed to use ism bands for long distance transmission?
 
Is the wifi used in loon project called super wifi?
 
+Jeena John We're working on some content that should better explain how the antennas work. Please stay tuned!
 
Project loon, do you only answer technical question? I find it a ambitious project, with huge of potential for people out of reach. So no critisism, but I am very curious about the role out, so to say the soft side of things. Who will be your partners there? Do you have a plan for the less develop countries? #daretoask
 
+Matthijs Nederveen
thanks for your question. The reason we're focusing on technical questions right now is because at this phase of the project the tech is far and away our biggest focus. None of the other stuff will be possible unless we can make the tech work, so we don't yet have as much to report on the "soft side" of the project. A lot of that planning will depend on our technical decisions anyhow, and so it's subject to change based on how the technical design progresses. 
 
So, there will be many balloons out there is space keeps forwarding data to each other until they arrive to the nearest earth station, does this kind of huge messy network will need new network technologies, new algorithms for example, to direct the data packets through the shortest way? 
 
I find this project fascinating. I just completed my PhD and my dissertation was on the design of optimal trajectories for stratospheric airships. Its exciting to see that the potential of these unconventional vehicles is starting to be realized. From a technical standpoint, I can imagine some interesting applications of trajectory optimization here. Once you gather distributed wind and pressure data from the vehicles you can use that to plan your next set of vertical moves in a way that gives you the best chance of meeting link requirements and coverage goals. Very cool.
Sam Siu
 
How do you guys manage the ascent and descent of a flock of balloons? I know you guys have locations for launches and landings; however if  a flock 20 balloons were to descend unexpectedly, would that cause a problem for airplanes?

My guess is no, since the balloons are spaced about 40km apart, but I'm no pilot.
 
Are you guys planning to test balloon technology in India?
 
What is the physical layer technolgy used by Loon? Is it 802.11 or a propertied PHY from google. What is the antenna on Loon? Is it MIMO, array with beamforming or just single antenna? How many users are supported by one Loon?
 
How many Watts can the solar pannel supply. Does Loon have a battery to support operation during night? What is the transmit power and how much power is consumed?
 
How can i start this project in India how can i be helpful to provide internet in rural areas of my town or villages. 
 
i am confident this project will better serve the needs of hungry internet users in poor developing countries and i will be happy to be involved in such a project in Africa particularly in Ghana and i look forward to Loon in Africa,

Welcome to Africa - LOON
 
 
There are some informations abaout Loon that i like to know : what is the power of radios and antennas, in the both sides (Loon and CPEs) ? What is the difference of the wifi of loon and the standard one ? Thanks.
 
Hi

I am Gaurav from India. I am pursuing M.Tech. (Post Graduation) in Computer Engineering. I want to give one seminar on recent technology and i have selected Google's "Project Loon". Please help me to get detailed technology description so that i can explain and give my best presentation and report.

Please help me.
 
Hi,
I am writing a science fiction novel with this idea as an integral part. You can imagine how shocked I was to find out that, not only was it not an original idea, but an actual working possibility. I will be keeping a close eye on you guys. When the book is finished you can read it (if you like).
Big question!  Has anyone thought about dropping the balloons into the stratosphere or shooting them there with small rockets thus avoiding the extremely low temperatures?
 
Hi, can i have a question?
How many balloon you need if you want to cover all the New Zealand - or more bigger as USA, that must be alot of ballon
 
I think every balloon covers 40 km dia area. 
So to cover th e whole New Zealand area of nearly 268,680 km² will take 585 loons.
 My maths not that good btw 
 
can you still provide internet coverage while having a territorial or air space issue for non-complying nations or you can say restricted air space countries? thank you
 
+Olivier Malinur
I am sure the balloons will have GPS and not transmit when over country's that don't agree to participate. This is how Iridium does it
 
We believe that Loon is the perfect solution for the Caribbean region due to its geographical nature and separation of land masses, not only to deliver service to land based needs, but as a solution to the commercial and pleasure marine industry which in some respects represents a greater target market.  One question: does the altitude the balloons orbit (20km) eliminate all issues with hurricane conditions?
 
+Ralph Birkhoff
Great question about whether hurricanes affect balloons at 20km. They do, but maybe not in the way you'd expect. Balloons at 20km are well above the wind, rain, and other inclement conditions associated with hurricanes. However, it turns out that the tops of clouds are really really cold, and hurricanes create a large swirl of thick cloud above the Earth. This ends up blocking most of the infrared radiation that would have warmed our balloon from below. Instead, it's as if there's a giant heat sink below the balloons, cooling them to extremely low temperatures.

We have to be careful with this, because if superpressure balloons get too cold, they lose their superpressure and descend out of the sky. By carefully planning a balloon's trajectory over a hurricane to ensure it doesn't get cold enough to lose superpressure, Loon should be able to navigate through these storms.
 
Hey i need a PowerPoint presentation on loon project can anyone help pls
 
You mentioned local ISP will be used to provide the Internet in one of the videos. Does this mean the ISP's of that particular area? For example If someone connects to loon from Bangkok, Thailand, will his request be routed through local ISP's of Bangkok or other regions? #AskAway
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