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 10 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.
Passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and the slow growth of infra-structure for transacting multimedia messages (those integrating voice, text, sound, images, and video) have stimulated an intense race to deploy non-traditional infra-structure to serve businesses and consumers at affordable prices. The game is new and the playing field is more level than ever before. Opportunities exist for entrepreneurs to challenge the market dominance enjoyed for years by incumbents. New types of service providers will emerge.
An electronic "information fabric" of a quilted character—including space, at-mospheric, and terrestrial data communications layers—will emerge that promises to someday link every digital information device on the planet. Packet-switched data networks will meld with connection-oriented telephony networks. Communications infrastructures will be shared more efficiently among users to offer dramatic reduc-tions in cost and large increases of effective data rates. An era of inexpensive band-width has begun which will transform the nature of commerce.
The convergence of innovative technologies and manufacturing capabilities affecting aviation, millimeter wave wireless, and multi-media communications indus-tries enables Angel Technologies Corporation and its partners to pursue new wireless broadband communications services. The HALO™ Network will offer ubiquitous access to any subscriber within a "super metropolitan area" from an aircraft operating at high altitude. The aircraft will serve as the hub of the HALO™ Network serving tens to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Each subscriber will be able to communicate at multi-megabit per second data rates through a simple-to-install subscriber unit. The HALO™ Network will be steadily evolved at a pace with the emergence of data communications technology world-wide. The HALO™ Network will be a universal wire-
less communications network solution. It will be deployed globally on a city-by-city basis.
There are various facts that show the strong interest in wireless communications in the United States:
- • 50 million subscribers to wireless telephone service
- • 28 million dollars annual revenue for wireless services
- • 38,000 cell sites with 37 billion dollars cumulative capital investment
- • 40% annual growth in customers
- • 25 million personal computers sold each year
- • 50 million PC users with Internet access
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