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The HALO networkTM

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3 Author(s)
Colella, M.J. ; Angel Technol. Corp., USA ; Martin, J.N. ; Akyildiz, I.F.

The High Altitude Long Operation NetworkTM is a broadband wireless metropolitan area network, with a star topology, whose solitary hub is located in the atmosphere above the service area at an altitude higher than commercial airline traffic. The HALO/Proteus airplane is the central node of this network. It will fly at altitudes higher than 51,000 ft. The signal footprint of the network, its “Cone of Commerce”, will have a diameter on the scale of 100 km. The initial capacity of the network will be on the scale of 10 Gb/s, with growth beyond 100 Gb/s. The network will serve the communications needs of each subscriber with bit rates in the multimegabit per second range. A variety of spectrum bands licensed by the FCC for commercial wireless services could provide the needed millimeter wavelength carrier bandwidth. An attractive choice for the subscriber links is the LMDS band. The airplane's fuselage can house switching circuitry and fast digital network functions. An 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. Adjacent beams will be separated in frequency. Electronic beamforming techniques can be used to stabilize the beams on the ground, as the airplane flies within its station keeping volume. For the alternative of aircraft-fixed beams, the beams will traverse over a user location, while the airplane maintains station overhead, and the virtual path will be changed to accomplish the beam-to-beam handoff. For each isolated city to be served, a fleet of three aircraft will be operated in shifts to achieve around-the-clock service. In deployments where multiple cities will be served from a common primary flight base, the fleet will be sized for allocating, on average, two aircraft per city to be served. Flight operational tactics will be steadily evolved and refined to achieve continuous presence of the node above each city. Many services will be provided, including but not limited to T1 access, ISDN access, Web browsing, high-resolution videoconferencing, large file transfers, and Ethernet LAN bridging

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 6 )