HIGH ALTITUDE AERONAUTICAL PLATFORMS (HAAPS)
High Altitude Aeronautical Platform Stations (HAAPS) is the name of a technology for providing wireless narrowband and broadband telecommunication services as well as broadcasting services with either airships or aircrafts. The HAAPS are operating at altitudes between 3 to 22 km. A HAAPS shall be able to cover a service area of up to 1'000 km diameter, depending on the minimum elevation angle accepted from the user's location. The platforms may be airplanes or airships (essentially balloons) and may be manned or un-manned with autonomous operation coupled with remote control from the ground. HAAPS mean a solar-powered and unmanned airplane or airship, capable of long endurance on-station â€œpossibly several years.
A high altitude telecommunication system comprises an airborne platform â€œ typically at high atmospheric or stratospheric altitudes â€œ with a telecommunications payload, and associated ground station telecommunications equipment. The combination of altitude, payload capability, and power supply capability makes it ideal to serve new and metropolitan areas with advanced telecommunications services such as broadband access and regional broadcasting. The opportunities for applications are virtually unlimited. The possibilities range from narrowband services such as paging and mobile voice to interactive broadband services such as multimedia and video conferencing. For future telecommunications operators such a platform could provide blanket coverage from day one with the added advantage of not being limited to a single service. Where little or unreliable infrastructure exists, traffic could be switched through air via the HAAPS platform. Technically, the concept offers a solution to the propagation and rollout problems of terrestrial infrastructure and capacity and cost problems of satellite networks. Recent developments in digital array antenna technology make it possible to construct 100+ cells from one platform. Linking and switching of traffic between multiple high altitude platforms, satellite networks and terrestrial gateways are also possible. Economically it provides the opportunity for developing countries to have satellite-like infrastructure without the funds flowing out of the country due to gateways and control stations located outside of these countries.
A typical HAAP-based communications systems structure is shown .
HAAP Feeder-band beam
The platform is positioned above the coverage area. There are basically two types of HAAPS. Lighter-than air HAAPS are kept stationary, while airplane-based HAAPS are flown in a tight circle. For broadcast applications, a simple antenna beams signals to terminals on the ground. For individualized communication, such as telephony, "cells" are created on the ground by some beam forming technique in order to reuse channels for spatially separated users, as is done in cellular service. Beam forming can be as sophisticated as the use of phased-array antennas, or as straightforward as the use of lightweight, possible inflatable parabolic dishes with mechanical steering. In the case of a moving HAAP it would also be necessary to compensate motion by electronic or mechanical means in order to keep the cells stationary or to "hand off" connections between cells as is done in cellular telephony.
HALO NETWORK CONCEPTS
High-Altitude Long Operation (HALO) aircraft present a new layer in the hierarchy of wireless communications -- a 10-mile tall tower in the stratosphere above rain showers and below meteor showers (i.e., high above terrestrial towers and well below satellite constellations).
HALO airplane will be the central node of a wireless broadband communications network. The HALO Network, whose initial capacity will be on the scale of 10 Gbps, with a growth potential beyond 100 Gbps. The packet-switched network will be designed to offer bit rates to each subscriber in the multimegabit-per-second range.
The airplane's fuselage can house switching circuitry and fast digital network functions. A MMW antenna array and its related components will be located in a pod suspended below the aircraft fuselage. The antenna array will produce many beams -- typically, more than 100. Broadband channels to subscribers in adjacent beams will be separated in frequency. For the case of aircraft-fixed beams, the beams will traverse over a user location, while the airplane maintains stationary overhead, and the virtual path will be changed to accomplish the beam-to-beam handoff. The aircraft will fly above commercial airline traffic, at altitudes higher than 51,000 feet. For each city to be served, a fleet of three aircraft will be operated in shifts to achieve around-the-clock service. Flight operational tactics will be steadily evolved to achieve high availability of the node in the stratosphere.
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