The Connectivity Lab at Facebook is developing ways to make affordable internet access possible in communities around the world. The team is exploring a variety of technologies, including high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites and lasers.
Aquila Unmanned Aircraft
Soaring above 60,000 ft., the Aquila unmanned aircraft is taking a different approach to connecting the world. Its tailless design and enormous wingspan allow it to float almost effortlessly, while its solar cells and super-efficient motors let it stay airborne for months, delivering internet to some of the most remote areas on earth.
Connecting with Lasers
Aquila’s range has pushed us to find new ways to deliver high-speed internet. So we returned to one of the first ways humans used to transmit data—light. Invisible infrared laser beams that flicker on and off billions of times per second are now able to send data at fiber-optic speeds using very little power. Using this laser technology we are able to connect and feed internet to an entire constellation of Aquila aircraft.
Brand New Challenges
Some of the world’s leading aerospace engineers are working on challenging every assumption around how internet is delivered. Finding carbon fiber that’s lighter than aluminum and 3x stronger than steel. Creating lasers so accurate, they can hit a dime from 12 miles away. And accommodating for nearly 200° temperature swings.