High Speed Internet Via Airborne Beams Of Light

31 Jan 2023
6 min read

News Synopsis

Latest Updated on 31 January 2023

Even though the distance between the cities is only three miles it is difficult to connect them since typical cable must be run around a river raising broadband rates by a factor of five.

The team at X stated that the Wireless Optical Communications system delivered almost 700 terabytes of data in 20 days with 99.9% availability.

We are confident Taara's links will continue to deliver similar performance and will play a key role in bringing fast more affordable connectivity to the 17 million people living in these cities even though the company doesn't expect to see perfect reliability in all types of weather and conditions in the future.

The project has seen several revisions over the course of its three-year development. In order to offer high-speed internet to sub-Saharan Africa, X is working with Econet Group and Liquid Telecom. A commercial rollout has already started in Kenya.

The method delivers data at high rates using very small invisible light beams much like standard fiber-in-the-ground systems do but without the cable casing.

The project's experiments to beam lasers between balloons in Project Loon which Alphabet Terminated in February because it was no longer considered financially viable, gave rise to the Technology known as Free Space Optical Communications.

It is not perfect and the company admits that it won't provide 100 percent reliability in trying situations like fog clouds or when birds fly in front of the signal.

But by changing the amount of laser power being sent which functions something like a telescope by relying on Mirrors, Lights, Software, and Hardware to move the beam to the precise location it needs to be it has been improved. The group has also found strategies to lessen faults brought on by errors like birds flying through the link.

There are many, many places in the globe with great weather for Taara's links, the site stated, but places like Foggy San Francisco may never be a good area to use WOC.

Last Updated on 06 October 2021

The best and cheap way of delivering high-speed internet via beams of light through the air has successfully transmitted data across the Congo River. It means that citizens in Brazzaville and Kinshasa could get faster and cheaper broadband. The cities lie only three miles apart but connecting them is tricky and difficult because traditional cable has to be routed around the river, making broadband prices five to six times more expensive.

It is the latest iteration of the project which has been in development for three years. The system uses very narrowly, invisible beams of light to deliver high speeds, similar to the way traditional fiber in the ground uses light to carry data but without the cable casing.

The technology, known as Free Space Optical Communications, grew out of experiments the team had previously used to beam lasers between balloons in Project Loon, which was shut down by Alphabet in February because it was no longer seen as commercially viable. It is not ideal and the team admits it will not offer full reliability in challenging conditions, such as fog, haze, or when birds fly in front of the signal.


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