Facebook suggests using space lasers for global communication.
There are several global Internet projects now, and the implementation of the idea is very different for different companies. So, someone creates balloons with suspended network equipment. Someone else launches small satellites into space to form a global network.
The company Facebook has previously offered to create a network of unmanned drones that could provide residents of remote regions with communications. Now Facebook’s plans have changed, it’s proposed to use a space laser instead of drones.
And this plan is already being implemented , the company plans to test the theoretical calculations of its employees in practice. All this will be checked with the help of two observatories that will be built on Mount Wilson, California. There are already two observatories that serve science, now two more will appear in order to ensure the operation of the Facebook laser system.
Both observatories are being built by the small PointView company, which received construction permission from Los Angeles County.
This organization also developed an experimental satellite for Facebook called Athena. In April, the company requested permission from the FCC to test radio communications for broadband access to the network.
However, the application is still pending due to the suspension of the US government. However, all documents submitted by the company say that it plans to use laser communication technology. It is possible for Athena and the device that is planned to be created in the future.
Facebook has been working on various communication technologies for a long time, including optics and lasers. The latter can provide much greater bandwidth than radio transmitters. In addition, the laser is extremely difficult to intercept in order to intervene in a communication session. However, if we are talking about communication from space with the Earth, then atmospheric phenomena, including cloudiness, can create a known problem.
As for the now closed project on the creation of Aquila drones, which carry the E-band millimeter-band radio communication transceivers, they were also used to test laser communication systems. Tests have shown a stable 10 Gbit / s link with the ground station, over which the drone flew.
The construction of observatories began in July, the facilities were first tested in mid-December last year. If the stations are really designed for conducting sessions of "laser communication", then their device should be very similar to the device of those objects that kept communication with wireless drones. So far, new observatories have not yet been built, but this is a matter for the near future.
Scientific papers on laser communications, the authorship of Facebook employees, first began to appear in 2017, in 2018, the work of employees continued. The authors of the works published a technical description of various system components, including an optical modem. “The results of the work are evaluated in terms of application for space missions,” the publications said. According to the developers, their projects were intended for use in the aerospace industry, the goal is to continue the development of the Facebook idea of new communication systems.
In the video above, one of the developers of the laser communication system talks about laser satellites as a game-changer for developing countries in terms of networking technologies. “Internet access for all will bring new opportunities to the public, including education and business development,” said the presenter, Rachel Anicheto. "Laser communication systems are a reliable and valuable technology that can be used to connect disconnected regions."
Despite the fact that the system presented earlier is somewhat different from what Facebook is currently preparing, it is generally clear what this is all about. Perhaps remote regions are connected to the global network not by drones, but by means of laser beams. And here we should not forget about Ilona Mask and OneWeb with their projects of deploying global satellite communications networks.