Google is planning to answer the question “How to deliver superfast internet to areas with patchy coverage?” by secretly trialing a drove of 5G internet compatible solar powered drones out in New Mexico. These drones have the potential to transmit gigabits of data every second which is 40 times more than the world’s fastest wireless services.
The secretive project code named SkyBender, built several prototype transceivers at the isolated spaceport last summer and it is testing them with multiple drones. It aims to take advantage of the high frequency millimetre waves– a specific region on the electromagnetic spectrum that can theoretically transmit data far more efficiently than the frequencies our phone and wireless internet have well and truly clogged up.
“The 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,”
says Jacques Rudell, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and specialist in this technology.
However, millimetre wave transmissions have a much shorter range than mobile phone signals. A broadcast at 28GHz, the frequency Google is testing at Spaceport America, would fade out in around a tenth the distance of a 4G phone signal. To get millimetre wave working from a high-flying drone,Google needs to experiment with focused transmissions from a phased array. Which is very difficult and complex process.But Google is working on trying to figure out how to use a team of high flying drones to beam down focused 5G internet transmission in a phased array configuration.
Before Google , in 2014 DARPA ,the research arm of the US military, announced a program called Mobile Hotspots to make a fleet of drones that could provide one gigabit per second communications for troops operating in remote areas.
Google has permission from the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) to continue its tests in New Mexico until July and at this time of the hear we will get to hear more news about the success or failure of the Project Skybender.