Softbank Mobile said Thursday that it had successfully tested its technology for placing a mobile cell phone base station in a balloon for use in an emergency. Softbank carried out the test, sending text messages and making calls from the balloon, which was sent up in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon.
The technology, which is designed to provide mobile communications in the event of a natural disaster, consists of an arrangement of balloons carrying a microwave transmitter that lock onto a truck-based ground station, which can connect to multiple balloons and is connected to the rest of the cellular infrastructure, Sankei Shimbun reported.
Softbank said on its website that a 7-meter-diameter dish is installed in a balloon around 4 meters in height that is powered by its tethering lines. The balloon is sent around 100 meters into the air from where it can provide cell phone coverage to a range of up to 5 kilometers.
The company tested the balloon's ability to adjust its position based on wind speed and direction and continue to point its microwave beam, as well as its data transfer speeds and ease of connection, Sankei reported.
A spokesperson said Softbank hopes to manufacture a working mobile cell phone base station by the end of the year.© Japan Today