Japan planning to dispatch solar-powered flying 5G mobile base station

Flying stations can be up to 60 times more efficient than ground-based ones.
  • Several countries are rolling out 5G, China has already installed 3 million stations
  • Japan wants to launch flying stations, rather than stations on the ground
  • A flying station can provide up to 60 times more coverage than one on the ground

Published on Jan 3, 2024 at 6:01PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Jan 9, 2024 at 6:50PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones
5g satellite hero image

Japan wants to change the telecommunication industry with an avant-garde system to handle 5G.

If everything goes the plan, the country will deploy 5G flying stations in the coming years.

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The flying stations, which are scheduled for launch in 2025, are called High Altitude Platform Stations, or HAPS for short.

The technology aims to provide network coverage from above, rather than from the ground.

Several countries are working hard to roll out 5G, especially the US and China.

China in particular has already installed three million base stations.

Japan wants to stay ahead of the curve by launching solar-powered flying stations, which, in theory, work better than stations on the ground for two reasons.

First, they are more reliable and second, they’re also more sustainable considering they’re powered by solar energy.

A ground-based station has a relatively limited range.

It varies depending on the topography but, ballpark, they cover between 2 and 7 miles (3-10 km).

It’s good but not great.

By contrast, a solar-powered HAPS covers over 120 miles.

So not only are they more efficient and provide better range, but we need fewer of them to cover larger areas.

One of the most widely used ‘flying’ station systems, and arguably the most famous, is Starlink.

Owned and run by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink is a satellite internet constellation system that provides coverage in over 70 countries.

It is used by countries and governments, but it can be used by individuals as well.

SpaceX even sells a portable ‘router’ called Starlink Roam, which can be bought by anyone and used just about anywhere.

Earlier this year, a guy actually turned his sedan into an 80 mph WiFi router by mounting Roam on the roof of his car.

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