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What are HAPS and what role will they play in future networks?

HAPS stands for High Altitude Platform Station, although they are also sometimes called High Altitude Pseudolites. HAPS carries telecom payloads and can provide stratospheric-based connectivity to ground equipment. So far, HAPS have been used primarily for temporary coverage, such as during disaster recovery, but companies working in this area hope to use them to provide more permanent, reliable coverage in unconnected areas.




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What are the two types of HAPS?


As described in the HAPS Alliance white paper (pdf), there are two basic types of HAPS: lighter-than-air (LTA) HAPS, such as high-altitude balloons, which rely on buoyancy to achieve and maintain altitude; and heavier-than-air (HTA) HAPS, such as fixed-wing airplane.



What are the telecom-specific aspects of HAPS?


To date, much of HAPS development and testing has focused on how connectivity is achieved. Given that the onboard communication equipment is carried by an unmanned light aircraft running on solar energy, both weight and power consumption need to be minimized. However, the equipment also needs to be able to operate reliably in severe vibrations and the harsh, cold stratospheric environment.



From the perspective of the working principle of the HAPS system, there is a ground gateway connecting the ground base station and HAPS. HAPS testing is performed with special access to various frequency bands below 1 GHz (e.g. 700 MHz and 900 MHz) as well as mid-band (1.2-1.7 GHz, 1.9 and 2.5 GHz, 3.4-3.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz license-exempt) . spectrum) and higher frequencies (26 GHz and 38 GHz, 70-80 GHz). In the tests, multiple frequency bands were used to control payload and data collection as well as feeder links that transmit data from smartphones to terrestrial internet lines to ensure redundancy.



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