Facebook Drones To Connect 1 Billion People With The Internet

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Aarzu Khan
A full-time data scientists and a part-time industry analyst; still learning power of effective presentation and firm believer of the thought "Numbers are always magical". Love to be in the network of people who 'know' how to respect their time and keep others engaged in meaningful activities.

Riding on the back of new initiatives, to support the growth of its social network, Facebook has been showcasing a splendid performance for the last few years. Though the initiative to provide free Internet through its Free Basics was not applauded, Facebook has apparently not given up yet. Mark & team has come up with the wonderful idea to connect new 1 billion users with the Internet under the project named “Aquila”. Facebook has organized the first full of the Aquila, an unmanned solar-powered plane beaming the Internet signals to people under the 60-miles communication diameter for up to 90 days at a time.

Optica, a scientific journal stated that Facebook is now one step ahead in its mission to provide free Internet services by measuring first test connection speed of about 2 Gbps. The technology which is being used is Infrared laser beam which will be continuously switched off and on billion times in a second. This continuously switching of laser beams reduces the energy consumption and make the plane more energy efficient.

2 Gbps is still not the desired speed of the mission, continuous efforts are being made to enhance the speed. Facebook’s mission to provide Internet services to every isolated location of the world motivated the Mark & Team to work on the solar energy driven drones, rotating at a very high altitude of 18000 meters from the ground level. The biggest hurdle, however, is to enhance the mechanism in such a way that laser beams get aimed in every direction, having the capability to reach a person sitting 10 miles away from that drone position.

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More than 4 billion people are yet to onboard the internet, 1.6 out of them lives in remote areas, claims Facebook. Undoubtedly, the conventional methods of setting up the infrastructure required for the Internet connectivity is too costly and also a time-consuming process. Therefore, companies like Facebook and Google, making every possible move to connect as many people as possible with the Internet through the shortest, yet efficient, way possible by riding on the back of next generation technologies.

Facebook, however, has taken a lead position in the initiative as It has adopted an aggressive approach to introducing something new to the world, be it either internet.org or Terragraph. Both initiatives are aimed at providing Internet services to at a very nominal cost with high-speed connectivity.

“You can’t have best artificial intelligence or virtual reality services until you bring the Internet to everyone who does not have it”, said Mark Zuckerberg on the first full successful test flight of Aquila.

Facebook is not the only Torch Bearer

Facebook is not the only company trying to revolutionaries the Internet Industry. Project Loon, by Google, has aimed at powering every isolated area on earth with the Internet. A bit similar to Facebook Aquila, Google is using helium filled balloons flying at the high altitude of 18km, somewhere in the atmosphere. These balloons have the capability to create a wireless network with a speed that of 4G network. But there has been criticism and cost issues which have hampered the progress of the project lately. The Loon uses a frequency band of which, according to astronomers, interrupts mid frequency range used up in SKA project.

Microsoft has also initiated a project to connect people staying in remote areas with the Internet. Under the project name, launched in 2014, “White Space”, the company is using the unused spectrum of TV channels to provide free Internet service to the masses of the world.

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