The future of high-speed internet? Google scientists send broadband across the Congo River via beams of LIGHT in breakthrough that could lead to faster networks in remote areas

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  • Project Tara is being masterminded by X, the secret research arm of Alphabet
  • It is using wireless optical communication to link the communication between two cities.
  • Contains terminals that direct rays of light at each other through the air
  • It is an alternative to cabling across the Congo, the world’s deepest river

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Google’s parent company Alphabet has sent broadband via aerial beams of light across the Congo River in Africa, in its latest effort to provide high-speed internet to underserved communities.

As part of an initiative called Project Tara, Alphabet is transmitting data between the cities of Brazzaville (in the Republic of the Congo) and Kinshasa (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on either side of the Congo River.

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Google said it has bridged a ‘particularly stubborn connectivity gap’ between the two cities, which are only three miles (4.8 kilometers) apart.

However, connectivity in Kinshasa is five times more expensive because the fiber connection has to travel more than 250 miles to get around the Congo River, the world’s deepest and second fastest river.

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Project Tara managed to serve up a total of about 700TB of data – which is the HD equivalent of watching a FIFA World Cup match 270,000 times – with 99.9 percent availability in 20 days, it said.

According to the researchers, people in Kinshasa experienced speeds of around 20Gbps, which is a ‘far better choice’ than missing out on the benefits of connectivity.

Project Tara uses terminals that emit very narrow, invisible beams of light. These are picked up by other terminals that lock-in ‘like a handshake’

Brazzaville and Kinshasa are two cities in different countries of Africa, which are on either side of the Congo River.

Brazzaville and Kinshasa are two cities in different countries of Africa, which are on either side of the Congo River.

project star

Project Tara is Alphabet’s effort to provide high-speed Internet to underserved communities.

Like fiber but without cables, the star uses light to transmit information at super high speeds as a very narrow, invisible beam through the air.

Tara’s wireless optical communication links, meanwhile, use very narrow, invisible beams of light emitted by specialized terminals through the air above ground, to provide fiber-like motion.

The star terminals detect a beam of light coming from each other, and lock-in ‘like a handshake’.

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Project Tara is being masterminded by X, formerly Google X – Alphabet’s secret research and development arm.

Baris Erkman, Director of Engineering for Tara, outlined the project blog post.

Being able to deliver high-speed Internet of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) is a ‘much better option’ than the millions who are deprived of the benefits of connectivity because the economics of laying cabling in the ground ‘just don’t’ stack up. ‘, They told.

“Project Tara’s wireless optical communications links are now insuring light-speed connectivity across the Congo River from Brazzaville to Kinshasa,” Erkman said.

‘While we do not expect to see full reliability in all types of weather and conditions in the future, we are confident that Tara’s links will continue to deliver similar performance and will be instrumental in bringing faster, more affordable connectivity to the 17’s. Millions of people living in these cities.

Project Tara works similarly to conventional fiber, which uses light to carry data through cables in the ground.

With fiber, the data that allows an Internet connection to be established travels down cables at the speed of light.

What is Fiber Optic Broadband?

Fiber optic cables are comprised of tiny tubes that are as thick as a human hair and are reflective on the inside.

They transmit information by sending flashes of light through tubes.

This reflector bounces off the walls and along the cable.

These flashes of data are then received and interpreted at the other end.

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Tara’s wireless optical communication links, meanwhile, use very narrow, invisible beams of light emitted by specialized terminals through the air above ground, to provide fiber-like motion.

The star’s terminals detect a beam of light coming from each other, and lock-in ‘like a handshake’, Erckmann said, to create a high-bandwidth connection.

In some parts of the world, low visibility due to things like fog and haze will worsen this process, but Brazzaville and Kinshasa have ideal weather conditions for most of the year.

During the Project Tara pilots conducted in India, the X team is faced with the issue of monkeys pushing Tara’s terminals.

Erkman said the X has since had to optimize the Tara’s capabilities to prevent service interruptions during the ‘rugged realities of operating technology in the physical world’.

The overall mission of Project Tara is to bring fiber-like speed to unconnected and underserved communities.

“Improved tracking accuracy, automated environmental responses and improved planning tools are helping Tara’s link deliver reliable high-speed bandwidth to areas where fiber cannot reach, and cut from traditional methods of delivering connectivity,” Erkman said. Helping us connect communities. .

The Congo River (pictured here from Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo) is the deepest and second fastest river in the world

The Congo River (pictured here from Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo) is the deepest and second fastest river in the world

Visibility conditions for Wireless Optical Communications (WOC) performance globally.  Visibility is generally good in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Visibility conditions for Wireless Optical Communications (WOC) performance globally. Visibility is generally good in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

‘We are really excited about these advancements, and look forward to developing and refining Tara’s capabilities as well as building on them.’

Project Tara is a continuation of its Internet balloon business Project Loon, which was shut down earlier this year.

Project Loon used tennis court-sized balloons to propel solar-powered networking gear above the Earth and beam Internet access…

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