By redesigning the essential components of a cell tower so they can be carried by a balloon 20 kilometres above earth, Loon extends the coverage area of mobile network ground-based systems, making it more viable to cover areas that are unserved or underserved by existing solutions. Loon also helps mobile service operators provide basic internet connectivity after natural disasters and disaster preparedness services to help them expeditiously reconnect affected populations.
A key component in the Loon solution involves the use of ground stations, which connect to existing infrastructures often hundreds of kilometers apart from the service area. A wireless internet signal is transmitted up to the nearest balloon from the ground. That signal is relayed across the Loon balloon network, creating a mesh network in the stratosphere. The internet signal is then beamed directly to LTE-enabled devices on the ground.
Once a balloon is ready for descent, final descent commands can be sent from Loon Mission Control at any time using satellite communications. We coordinate with the local air navigation service providers to ensure a safe landing in areas of low population density. Recovery teams are then dispatched to the location to collect the Loon balloon for analysis and recycling.
On a global scale, Loon is working with other industry leaders in ICAO, the HAPS Alliance, ICCAIA, GSMA, and other organizations in areas to create industry guidance and regulations that ensure uniformity and safety while making it easier for mobile network operators to adopt the Loon connectivity solution.
Working together on global standards and local regulations, Loon can deliver much needed connectivity services to those unserved or underserved around the world.