Alphabet’s Loon Balloons Just Beamed the Internet Across 620 Miles (zdnet.com)

Loon, the former Google X project and now independent Alphabet company, has developed an antenna system that could create a far greater ground coverage than previously possible. From a report: According to Loon each of its balloons, from 20km (12.4 miles) above earth, can cover an area of about 80km (49.7 miles) in diameter and serve about 1,000 users on the ground using an LTE connection. However, Loon balloons need a backhaul connection from an access point on the ground and without that connection the balloons can’t provide connectivity to users on the ground. But on Tuesday the company revealed it had sent data across a network of seven balloons from a single ground connection spanning a distance of 1,000 kilometers, or about 621 miles. It also achieved its longest ever point-to-point link, sending data between two balloons over a distance of 600km (373 miles). The tests were carried out across California and Nevada, with the balloons punting data packets between each other from “desert to mountains and back again”, according to Loon.

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