With the development of technology, the need for the internet continues to increase rapidly around the world. Everyone’s access to high-speed internet is seen as a personal right nowadays. However, the cost of laying fiber optic cable to provide high-speed internet is very high, especially in mountainous areas. The newest method used to overcome these obstacles by getting rid of fiber optic costs and increase the range of wireless internet is; internet transmission with light beams.
Alphabet X branch of Google’s parent company Alphabet, which is famous for its innovative and extraordinary projects, has tested a brand new internet connection. The company, which previously put forward the idea of distributing wireless internet with balloons to be placed in the stratosphere, called Loon, has now stepped into the Taara project. The Taara project aims to provide a fast internet connection over long distances wirelessly through light and has been successfully tested in Africa. With this method, it is planned that people living in cities such as Brazzaville in the Congo and Kinshasa in the Democratic Congo will be able to access high-speed internet more cheaply.
Sharing on their blog about their last experiment, the Taara team said that the internet connection between the cities of Brazzaville and Kinshasa is extremely slow, the construction cost has increased five times the normal because the cables have to follow the curves of the Congo river, therefore the connection between these two cities, which are 5 kilometers away, cannot be improved. The Alphabet X team announced that in the 20-day trial between the two cities, around 700 terabytes of data were transferred and the system was operational for 99.9 percent. In the new method, infrastructure costs will be significantly reduced, as there is no need for cables for connection.
20 Gbps of Bandwith within a 20 KM Area
The working principle of the project is basically based on light. The tested system uses very short wavelength light beams that the human eye cannot detect. This is similar to the light beams used in fiber optic cables laid in the ground. An invisible beam of light is transmitted from one terminal with internet access to another terminal at a distance. With the internet passed through the light, wireless internet access can be provided in the other region. Alphabet can offer up to 20 Gbps of bandwidth within a 20 kilometer area in its wireless internet project.
The research team states that in situations such as fog and haze or when birds pass between the light source and the receiver, the signal can be cut off, but it can still be preferred in poor countries due to the price advantage. “While it doesn’t work perfectly in all climates, we are confident that Taraa will continue to perform in this 20-day trial and play a key role in providing affordable and fast internet to people in these two cities of 17 million people,” the blog post said.
The team found ways to slightly improve the signal and reduce the impact of bird flights, depending on the weather conditions. “Although a foggy place like San Francisco is not an ideal place to use this system, many parts of the world have an ideal climate for it,” they said on the blog post.
The Alphabet X team is committed to moving the Taara project forward. The trials of the project, which will also be tested in Kenya, are not limited to Africa, but are planned to continue in India, the USA and Mexico.