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Using Commercial Aircraft For A Worldwide Wireless Network

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Posted December 23, 2016

There’s a whole world of unconnected people to the internet, and corporations are using satellites, drones, or even balloons to beam internet to remote areas. The Airborne Wireless Network (AWN) plans to make use of the several thousand commercial aircraft that are in the sky at any given moment to create a meshed carrier network.

Existing planes fitts with small microwave relay station devices, allowing them to daisy-chain broadband signals to other nearby aircraft, ships and ground stations. This  provides internet access not only to passengers in-flight, but for those on the ground. Using planes as “mini-satellites” to create the network has several advantages over regular satellites. If a specific link goes down, the signal will find a way around the interruption, jumping to other connections as necessary. That allows for a more stable service and faster speeds.

Another advantage is that this network is not only safe from damage by space junk, but it reduces the amount of future junk launched into orbit. The nodes are constantly landing and taking off, future upgrades can be done during routine maintenance, unlike satellites.

The company says its primary target customer-base will be worldwide data and communications service providers. It’s an ambitious plan and time will tell if it can get off the ground.

Source: Airborne Wireless Network

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