Facebook explored using a fleet of tiny, bird-sized drones to boost mobile internet speeds

For years, Facebook has explored ways to help improve mobile connectivity and get more people from developed countries online, apparently a humanitarian effort, but rather a veiled tactic to attract more people to their ecosystem Of applications. The most visible projects of that effort have been Facebook's Internet.org initiative, with its Free Basics and Express Wi-Fi offers for rapidly growing smart phone markets, and the discontinued Aquila project, which sought to fly large drones that work with solar energy and that could be projected. Internet like hello balloons Loon high-flying Alphabet.

But Facebook was working on another secret method involving much smaller aircraft, the size of a bird, that could be used to increase the speed of smart phone data, according to a report published today in Business Insider . The project, whose code name was "Catalina" after an island off the southern coast of California noted for once using a network of carrier pigeons, was suspended about a year ago, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to BI . But its existence illustrates that Facebook was looking for connectivity through a variety of lenses.

BI reports that the drones would be closer to the size of a sparrow, making them almost pocket-sized. The goal would not be to transmit an Internet connection that works to completely remote areas, but to increase existing 2G connections to allow smartphone users to stream videos and perform other more data-intensive tasks. It is not clear how exactly it would have worked. The report describes that drones are designed to carry "high-density solid-state drives … that could then be used to carry data", so that drones may act as a mesh network between a ground connection and the A user's smartphone to facilitate high-bandwidth data transfers.

In any case, it seems that Facebook moved away from that idea when it abandoned the Aquila concept. However, the company is not totally out of the connectivity game. He still has Internet.org, despite the setbacks that the organization has faced in India. And when Aquila's news was published in June 2018, Facebook said it was still working with Airbus to develop better versions of what are known as high-altitude platform stations, or HAPS, that can be incorporated into aircraft in order to transmit them at high speed. Internet speed from low orbit At that time, the company also said that it was "actively participating in various aviation advisory boards and standards creation committees in the United States and internationally."

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