5G internet beamed from solar-powered drones? That is exactly what Google is trying to achieve

Google Developing Technology For 5G Internet Beamed From The Sky-1

Google, it seems, has been secretly testing a new technology that could transmit data at an incredibly high speed of several gigabits per second. Currently being trialed at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the concept is based on the use of high frequency millimeter waves, which belong to a specific part of the electromagnetic spectrum. With the help of special 5G-compatible solar drones, the tech giant aims to achieve data transmission speeds that are at least 40 times more than what today’s fastest wireless services are capable of .

Google Developing Technology For 5G Internet Beamed From The Sky-2

Spaceport America in New Mexico

Dubbed as Skybender, the project is currently in its initial stage, and is part of Google’s efforts to create efficient wireless networks that can transfer several gigabits every second. Central to the technology are millimeter waves with frequency ranging from 30 GHz up to 300 GHz. In the electromagnetic spectrum, these waves occur between microwaves (frequency between 1 GHz and 30 GHz) and infrared waves, and are therefore substantially longer than x-rays or IR waves, while being shorter than microwaves or radio waves. Speaking about the research, Jacques Rudell, an electrical engineer from the University of Washington and otherwise unrelated to the project, said:

The huge advantage of millimeter wave is access to new spectrum, because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It’s packed and there’s nowhere else to go.

Despite their various impressive properties that promise ultra-fast data transmission in the future, millimeter waves are in fact crippled, in the sense that they have much shorter range in comparison to mobile phone signals. As a result, they tend to fade after traveling only a short distance. As The Guardian reports, Google’s recent testing at New Mexico’s Spaceport America has revealed that a broadcast at 28 GHz would likely dissipate at just one-tenth the distance of a regular 4G phone signal.

Google Developing Technology For 5G Internet Beamed From The Sky-3

Spaceport America in New Mexico

This is exactly what the think tanks at Google are trying to solve. Although very little is actually known about the Skybender project, Rudell believes that the researchers are working to create a specialized system, in which high-speed internet could be beamed directly from the sky. This, according to experts, could be achieved with the help of a network of special high-flying drones. For the tests, the scientists are using Centaur, an “optionally piloted aircraft” or OPA, as well as Solara 50, an advanced solar-powered drone developed by Titan Aerospace.

It is believed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded Google permission to continue testing at Spaceport America till July of this year.

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