WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Wabash Heartland Innovation Network is planning the launch of an RTO Wireless AeroSite, home base of the first telecommunications aerostat to be deployed in the United States for rural broadband. The AeroSite will support WHIN's research broadband network, covering ten counties in north-central Indiana.
Aerostats allow telecommunications equipment to be located at 1,500-2,500 feet, which provides line-of-sight that is better than terrestrial towers. With the AeroSite and its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) radios, WHIN's research network will be one of the most advanced rural broadband testbeds in the country.
In partnership with its tech partners, WHIN will test innovative solutions to make broadband available in areas of its region that are unserved or underserved. WHIN will publish the technical details of the deployment and its regional impact to policymakers, industry, and researchers.
In addition, a LoRaWAN gateway will be installed on the aerostat that will enhance and extend coverage to the entire WHIN region. It's the next step toward fulfilling our promise for full LoRaWAN coverage and helps fulfill WHIN's mission of accelerating the adoption of IoT technology throughout the region. The gateways will allow for millions of messages per day to flow through from sensors in agricultural fields and manufacturing facilities, informing decisions that affect the bottom line by reducing costs, increasing speed of operations and making operations more efficient.
Aerostats have been used to maintain communications after natural disasters, and by the military, but this will be the first commercial broadband service provided by an aerostat in the country. Right here in Indiana.
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