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Published on : Apr 04, 2016

In present times, the demand for wireless communication is consistently increasing. Today, with advancing technology, not only wireless communication but high-speed communication in less time is what people demand today. In the current technologically driven era, terrestrial and satellite systems are the means for communicating wirelessly.

Terrestrial systems, as the name suggests are on-ground radio station and are designed for telecommunication with spacecraft or satellites. In a rudimentary form, an earth station is an antenna and consists other equipment such as down converter, electronics receiver, and low-noise amplifier. On the other hand, ground-based complex earth stations are referred to as computer centers, telephone exchanges, and TV and radio stations etc. Earth-based communication station act as gateways for transmission and receiving signals from satellites.

Satellite systems are deployed for needs that are beyond the reach of terrestrial systems. High altitude platforms (HAPs) are aircrafts that are stationed at an altitude 50,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. Typically, high altitude platforms are stationed in the stratosphere layer of the atmosphere and are equipped with varying degree of payload for applications such as navigation, communication, surveillance, and environmental monitoring.

North America is a dominant region for high altitude platforms. In this region, high adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles and tethered aerostat systems are the reasons for this. Asia Pacific will emerge as a leading market for HAPs in the coming years. In this region, countries such as India, Japan, South Korea, China, and Southeast Asia are spending heftily on the installation of robust HAPs for surveillance and communication reasons. In these countries, an ever-increasing Internet penetration and demand for high-speed wireless communication services are the reasons for this. 

High altitude platforms offer competitive advantage over satellite systems with the additional benefit of low operational and maintenance costs. HAPs are compatible with existing infrastructure as well, are easy to control, and require less installation time over satellite systems.