SoftBank: Drone-delivered IoT and Internet by 2023

drone for 5G

Giant, high-altitude, solar-powered drones will provide reliable 5G for IoT and during natural disasters.

Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank has teamed up with with a U.S.-based drone builder to launch a drone-powered internet service by 2023.

Softbank and AeroVironment have already assembled their first drone, the HAWK30. With a 260-foot wingspan, solar panels power 10 electric motors, the drone can fly 12 miles (65,000 feet) above sea level — twice the height of commercial aircraft.

This high altitude provides the “floating base station in the stratosphere” with a steady current. The companies hope it will yield more widespread LTA and 5G coverage than available at lower altitudes. The HAWK30’s base stations — High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) — can provide service to about 125-square-miles. Approximately 40 HAPS could cover the entire Japanese archipelago.

Seamless Connectivity

Softbank wants to create connectivity that doesn’t rely on wired or radio-based assets, which natural disasters can damage or destroy. The company is evaluating satellite backhaul internet links that would operate in low earth orbit.

Softbank is also working on integrating its HAPS augmented service into the customer experience. Terrestrial base stations and HAWK30 will enable smooth handovers between networks. This connectivity should prevent communication disruption when someone moves between base stations to areas covered by HAWK30. Plus, in the event of a disaster, customers won’t struggle with connecting to their mobile network operator.

The drone-based service will do more than ameliorate connectivity issues that result from natural disasters. Tim Farr, president of TMF Associates says the technology will effectively provide internet coverage to remote areas.

“HAPSMobile will support telecom standards for IoT to accommodate various IoT solutions,” HAPSMobile, the SoftBank entity running the infrastructure says on its website.

See also: Robot Drones Take flight, Looking Down for Real-Time Data

Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

One thought on “SoftBank: Drone-delivered IoT and Internet by 2023

  1. Pingback: SoftBank: Drone-delivered IoT and Internet Here by 2023 – Tech Check News

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