Facebook is developing lasers for internet connectivity
Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is developing a laser communications system that will be used as a new way to connect people to the internet.
The project is part of the company’s Internet.org efforts that aim to connect billions of people around the world who don’t live in range of existing wireless networks. According to Zuckerberg, it’s part of a new generation of connectivity platforms like satellites and high-altitude long-endurance drones.
Facebook Connectivity Lab calls it the Free Space Optical communication, or FSO, which is a way of using light to transmit data through space and then bounce it back to Earth with the help of laser-equipped satellites. The laser beams which are in the infrared part of the spectrum are basically invisible but for the sake of demonstration Facebook made them visible as you can see in the photos.
“FSO is a promising technology that potentially allows us to dramatically boost the speed of internet connections provided by any of the previously mentioned platforms. The lasers used in FSO systems provide extremely high bandwidths and capacity, on par with terrestrial fiber optic networks, but they also consume much less power than microwave systems. Because you can make the beam so much narrower, this allows you to focus all of your power exactly where you want it to go.”