Google's parent company to connect regions of Africa with internet via laser

Alphabet, the company that owns Google, is using some of the technology previously developed for Project Loon to bring high-speed broadband internet to people in Africa.

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The Loon, discontinued in January, it was looking to use helium balloons to distribute wireless internet around the world. Now, part of the technology developed in the study, specifically Communications in Optical Free Space (FSOC), has been renamed, and is being called Project Taara.

O Taara it works like fiber optic cables, but with lasers instead of physical connections. The technology is able to create a broadband transmission of more than 20 GB between two points that have a field of clean vision between each other.

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Taara connection units are installed in high places, so they can see each other. The devices have the ability to adjust their mirrors automatically at 5-degree intervals, and if at any point the system fails, there is the option to adjust them manually. The study, previously tested in India, has now moved to Africa, with the technology connecting the Congo River in Brazaville in the Republic of Congo with Quinxassa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Illustration demonstrating how Taara works. (Image: Reproduction / Liliputting)

In tests carried out on the African continent, the project managed to transmit almost 400 TB of data over 20 days, improving the quality of connections from local providers such as Econet. Even without the protection of a physical fiber when sending information, the Taara project report comments that, during the test period, the connections were stable at 99.9% of the time. The study team told The Verge website that they could not differentiate when they were using the laser connection or the fiber optic connection.

Still in a statement to The Verge, the researchers commented that they had no experience where weather conditions hindered the connection. For them, the reason for this stability is the laser transmission, which adjusts depending on the conditions of the route, in addition to improved pointing and tracking systems.

The reason for the test site

The choice of the test site was made not only due to the weather conditions of the Congo River, considered more suitable than a foggy climate such as San Francisco, but also due to the difficulty and high cost of installing fiber optics in Quinxassa. The nearest cable has to travel 61 kilometers to reach the city, which increases the process value by 5 times , according to researchers.

Source: The Verge

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