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Google replaces fibre connectivity with free-space optics

Google replaces fibre connectivity with free-space optics

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga



Born out of the Loon project where Google aims to use high altitude balloons as base stations in the sky to enable internet access everywhere, especially in hard to reach or underdeveloped regions around the globe, FSOC links are based on light beams that deliver high speed connectivity over long distances without using fibre-optic cables.

Project Loon needed a way of transmitting data between balloon basestations to work. Engineers used FSOC links to achieve this over distances of over 100 km. The results of this work in the stratosphere brought the technology to ground to solve connectivity problems where fibre is too expensive or impractical.

The FSOC links created by X will form part of the high-bandwidth backbone of AP State FiberNet’s network and will be used to plug gaps to major access points, such as cell-towers and WiFi hotspots.

FSOCs provide a cost effective way to connect rural and remote areas across – avoiding the need to lay fibre-optic cable over long distances in difficult terrain, where the the expense cannot be justified by the number of subscribers.

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