Google has started work on a new top secret project that is being developed by the people that dreamt up Project Loon according to a news report in the Guardian. The latest effort has been dubbed Project Skybender and seeks to deliver 5G internet via solar powered drones. The guys over at Mountain View California have started experimenting with what is known as millimeter wave-based internet. The service is being tested in New Mexico at Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space terminal.
The new technology makes use of millimeter waves which are thought to be capable of transmitting data about 40 times faster than present 4G and could well become the technology that powers 5th generation internet services. According to the report, DARPA has already begun work on an internet connection based on the technology for remote military bases.
University of Washington professor Jacques Rudell told The Guardian that “[t]he huge advantage of millimetre wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It’s packed and there’s nowhere else to go.”
There are issues
There are problems with millimeter wave transmissions such as the fact that they tend to fade after short distances and cannot compete with the range of a mobile phone signal. This is one of the problems Google will have to find a solution for if it intends to beam internet from the sky. Project Skybender makes use of an optionally piloted aircraft which is called Centaur the project also uses a solar-powered drone called Solara 50 made by a company Google acquired in 2014 for the purpose of its tests.
Regular updates expected
Google has received permission to keep testing the drone based internet delivery system in New Mexico until July from the FFC. This means more details about the progress of the project will be released in the same way that Google makes regular announcements about the progress of Project Loon.