Feeds

Hey! You! Get outta my cloud says Google with balloon broadband patent

Don't hang around Chocolate Factory's WiFi-over-balloon tech, 'cos two's a crowd

High performance access to file storage

Google has filed a patent application to make sure nobody else crowds the skies with high-altitude balloons carrying wireless broadband kit.

Its filing published November 14, Balloon Clumping to Provide Bandwidth Requested in Advance, covers projecting a change in bandwidth demand; repositioning a Project Loon balloon or balloons into position, and using them to deliver capacity to the “specified area during the specified future time period.”

Just in case anyone else floats the idea of balloon broadband for natural disasters, Google's patent filling says that a projection of bandwidth demand could be made on the basis that “a natural disaster, an event, [or] a historical record of bandwidth demand”.

The patent application at least gives us an insight into the kit that Mountain View wants to dangle underneath its great big bladders in the sky: optical and RF communications with the ground (so nobody can patent-dodge using free-space optics), battery and solar power, a computer system, and of course a positioning system.

Project Loon patent image

Loon balloon

The Loon balloons will have a three month lifetime, after which they would, Google hopes, return to Earth in a spot sufficiently convenient that the hardware can be recovered.

While commonly thought of as a WiFi-in-the-sky project, Google's Project Loon page still describes the project as using “specialised” RF technology in the ISM bands.

As noted over at Hot Hardware, the patent's inclusion of “broadband for events” provides a hint at how the humanitarian aspects of Loon might be funded: charging impatient visitors to crowded events who don't mind paying a premium to get away from overcrowded carrier networks. Think of Loon as an Ṻber for Instagramming hipsters. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.