In its quest to deliver high-speed Internet service to rural areas around the globe, Facebook has successfully transmitted data at a speed of 20Gbps between two test towers in Southern California.
The milestone-setting tests were conducted earlier this year in the so-called E-band frequencies, a group of millimeter wave frequencies between 60 and 90GHz. Such signals are capable of high-bandwidth data transmission but are susceptible to attenuation from distance, weather, and obstacles, so they are typically used for short-range, point-to-point transmissions.
The test proved useful for point-to-point links that could transmit high-bandwidth internet signals terrestrially. But it does not yet meet the requirement to be used as the backhaul link for the company's envisaged drone internet service.
Facebook's Aquila drones will deliver internet access to remote areas from altitudes of between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, roughly 18 to 27 kilometers. Because the drones won't always be overhead of the ground station, the link distance could be longer. For the drone service, Facebook will need to increase the range to between 30 and 50 kilometers and increase the bandwidth to 30Gbps, the company said.
The company plans to continue testing.