Facebook Announces Connectivity Lab

Facebook today unveiled the Connectivity Lab, part of its Internet.org initiative, which is working on drones, satellites and lasers for connectivity.

Facebook’s Yael Maguire explained some of its plans for low earth orbit satellite and solar powered drones.

Internet.org said it is working with Ascenta, in the UK that specializes in high-altitude long-endurance aircraft. Facebook is also reportedly looking to buy Titan Aerospace, a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can fly for long periods of time without having to land.

The Solara 60 can carry a payload of 250 lbs while the Solara 50 maxes out at 85 kilograms (187 lbs). The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has sent a letter to the FAA encouraging the agency to allow limited unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations.

Facebook estimates that some 5 billion people — or two-thirds of the world — are without Internet access, and it wants to change that.

Today there are a billion smartphones used worldwide. By 2017 there will be close to 2 billion smartphones and half a billion tablets in use. Perhaps at the World Administrative Radio Conference, governments should get serious about devoting some world bands in the UHF, 3.5GHz, 5GHz, and 70 GHz for “free” and unlicensed public internet access.

NASA’s LADEE spacecraft orbits the moon and connects to Earth at 622 Mbps using lasers. The ground segment must have clear skies.

The 70-80 GHz band might have a better shot at supplying backbone connectivity under cloudy skies. Consumer devices (or modules connected via Bluetooth to tablets) might use White Spaces, the unlicensed 2.4/5GHz bands, or even shortwave for “the last mile”.

Range Networks, the company that developed the open-source basestation software BTS wants to adapt their transceiver to use unlicensed white space spectrum for cellular networks all over the world.

Outernet hopes to use datacasting technology over a low-cost CubeSat constellation. The startup says it will be able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy, and offer a universally-accessible information service at no cost to global citizens. Outernet’s motto is “Information for the world from outer space.” The startup says the entire constellation utilizes globally-accepted, standards-based protocols, such as DVB-S2, Digital Radio Mondiale, and UDP-based WiFi multicasting.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before Facebook and Google eviscerate cellular phone companies and their government overlords.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; OuterNet: CubeSat Datacasting?, Facebook Buying Drone Company, Inside Google’s Loon Project, Project Loon Field Trip Hangout, First Four O3B Satellites Launched, Google Backhaul: Balloons & Satellites, Kymeta’s Flat Beamforming Antenna Links to Satellite, Blimp In A Box, ExactEarth Launches 5th AIS Satellite, Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, Earth to Space Optical Communications – Again, O3B: Funded for Launch, Arianespace: Busy 2013, Gilat Does Satellite Cell Backhaul, SkyTerra 1 Launched, Broadband Satellites: Black Hole?, LightSquared: Phase 1, Intelsat Announces EpicNG Satellite Platform , Satellite 2012, Formation Flying Swarmbots, Flying Cell Towers, Range Networks: Open Source Cellular Networks

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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