Alphabet Uses Light Beams To Deliver Internet From 20Km Away
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is continuing to develop innovative ways to deliver an internet connection, and its latest method is completely wireless and can be delivered from 20km away.
When Alphabet developed Project Loon, which used a balloon network to deliver internet to remote areas, the team began to think of ways to do something similar closer to earth. The result is Project Taara, which is a system that uses beams of light to deliver the internet from a significant distance. The project has already been successfully tested in Kenya, and achieved an internet connection from 20km away.
In a post, Mahesh Krishnaswamy, general manager of Project Taraa, explained the purpose of the technology:
Project Taara is now working with Econet and its subsidiaries, Liquid Telecom and Econet Group, to expand and enhance affordable, high-speed Internet to communities across their networks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Taara’s links will begin rolling out across Liquid Telecom’s networks in Kenya first, and will help provide high-speed connectivity in places where it’s challenging to lay fiber cables, or where deploying fiber might be too costly or dangerous – for example over rivers, across national parks, or in post-conflict zones.
The technology itself uses invisible light beams to transmit data, and as long as this signal is uninterrupted it can deliver bandwidth of 20Gbps to the nearby area. Due to the light beam needing to be uninterrupted, the terminals that send and receive the connection are best placed high up on towers and rooftops.
Krishnaswamy detailed how this technology will work:
In the same way traditional fiber uses light to carry data through cables in the ground, Taara uses light to transmit information at very high speeds as a very narrow, invisible beam. This beam is sent between two small Taara terminals to create a link. A single Taara link can cover distances up to 20km and can transmit bandwidth of up to 20Gbps+—that’s enough connectivity for thousands of people to be watching YouTube at the same time.
By creating a series of links from our partner’s fiber-optic network over ground to underserved areas, Taara’s links can relay high-speed, high-quality Internet to people without the time, cost, and hassle involved in digging trenches or stringing cables along poles.
This line-of-sight technology could greatly improve how rural and troubled areas use the internet. With this in mind, it will be exciting to see where Project Taraa is utilised next and what kind of impact it can make.
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