Facebook completes first full-scale drone for spreading Internet access to …

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Ready To Test Giant Drone For Beaming Internet Via Lasers.

Facebook’s Internet drone is designed to fly at high altitudes for up to three months, it will use lasers to send Internet signals to stations on the ground. (Source: Reuters) Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world. Yael Maguire, the engineering director of the project, said the Aquila team had achieved a significant milestone with laser communications for high-speed data connections that are faster than most current speeds.SEPERATELY, BUT NOT UNRELATEDLY, Facebook and Google are behind air-bound pushes for wider, better internet coverage in hard-to-reach-with-advertising areas.

Using the solar-powered drone could mean “quickly bringing connectivity to an area that needs it”, he said at Facebook’s California headquarters. The firm has revealed the results of its work on the Aquila drone, introducing the air-ready version of the craft in an excitable blog post by Jay Parikh, VP of global engineering and infrastructure at Facebook, and his walk-through of the Facebook Connectivity Lab. “10 percent of the world’s population lives in remote locations with no internet infrastructure, and the kinds of infrastructure technologies used everywhere else – things like fibre-optic cable, microwave repeaters and cell towers – may be a challenge to deploy cost-effectively in these regions,” he said. “That’s where the Connectivity Lab comes in. We are exploring a number of different approaches to this challenge, including aircraft, satellites and terrestrial solutions. “Our intention is not to build networks and then operate them ourselves, but rather to quickly advance the state of these technologies to the point that they become viable solutions for operators and other partners to deploy.” Aquila, which makes Facebook happy, is the long-endurance drone that the firm is readying for take off and take up, and a full-scale version is complete and ready for testing. The buzz around Google and Mountain View, meanwhile, surrounds the rather less impressive sounding (ask Bill Gates) Loon method of using balloons as the source of internet connections. This “breakthrough” development promises to ensure internet connectivity in parts, primarily rural ones, which could not have imagined such a possibility anytime soon.

The government’s official news pages said that the local Foreign Ministry is pleased to announce the end of connection problems, explaining that it is “proud to declare that we are at the cusp of reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world. Google’s Project Loon, which aims to provide wireless internet to rural communities using high-altitude helium balloons, though, could be seen as a competition to Aquila.

Facebook also has a separate but related initiative that works with wireless carriers to provide limited mobile Internet service at no cost, in countries where residents are too poor to afford traditional wireless plans. Facebook’s drone was developed in part with engineering expertise that joined the company when it acquired a British aerospace startup, Ascenta, last year. They have lab-tested a laser that can deliver data at tens of gigabits per second, which is 10 times faster than the current state-of-the-art lasers in the industry. Using a variety of data sources, Facebook can figure out where people are located physically, in order to then decide the most cost-effective way to bring them connectivity. Facebook hopes to share the technology with telecommunications carriers and development agencies, which it hopes will build and operate the drone networks, Parikh said. “We’re not going to operate this ourselves,” he added. “We’re focused on finding ways to drive the industry to move faster.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged Facebook’s business will benefit in the long run if more people gain Internet access, but he says the effort isn’t driven by profit-seeking.

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