Stratospheric Wi-MAX-HAP

January 10, 2008

The University of York, working with Swiss technology company Strat-XX, are developing a WiMAX-HAP system. This aims to deliver WiMAX wireless broadband services via cellular networks and spot beam antennas as the payload on stratospheric High-Altitude Platforms (HAPs), such as airships or hot-air balloons, at an altitude of around 21 km above the earth. The basic concept for the system is shown below:

Using one customer premises equipment (CPE) as a gateway to the wired internet, at least one other remote CPE is linked to the wider internet via the HAP payload. Other users can use a WiFi access point whose backhaul is provided by the WiMAX CPE. The base-station is placed on the HAP so that all of the CPEs can be viewed.

Not surprisingly the application has severe size and weight restrictions for all elements of the design, including the power feed for the system. Vicor DC-DC converters were chosen as the link between the specialist low temperature batteries and the payload power control system because of their small size, high power density and their very wide operating temperatures. As one of the products used (V24B48E150BL3) was from Vicor’s new lower cost E grade range and the other (V24B12C150BL3) was one of the new mid-power products the designers also selected a particularly cost-effective solution.

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