Google has plans to expand its Wi-Fi in the sky ambitions with Project SkyBender. According to The Guardian, the said project aims to deliver 5G wireless internet from solar-powered drones. Google secret 5G internet drone tests were revealed to be done at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The Guardian further learned that it was the tech giant’s initiative to explore ways to deliver high speed internet from the air much like their Project Loon.
Project Loon is a part of the initiative that the Google Access team handles. It could be recalled that two years ago, Mashable has reported that Google has launched Project Loon, which deals with unpowered LTE enabled balloons that deliver internet access to connect people in rural and remote areas. These balloons, last time it was checked upon, is said to last up to an average of 100 days.
The Guardian also reported that the SkyBender can theoretically transmit gigabits of data every second, which is up to 40 times more than today’s much revered 4G LTE systems. The news platform also interviewed Professor Jacquess Rudell of the University of Washington Electrical Engineering section who told The Guardian that the huge advantage of the millimetre wave is access to a new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded.
However, millimetre wave transmissions have a shorter range than that of a mobile phone signal. Rudell adds that A broadcast at 28 GHz which Google used in their test at Spaceport America will fade out in around a tenth the distance of a 4G phone signal. Google needs to experiment with focused transmissions from a phased array to get the millimetre wave working from a high-flying drone.
Currently, the SkyBender system is being tested with the Centaur and high-altitude solar-powered drones with wingspans of up to 50 metres by Google Titan. Centaur is an aircraft which is optionally piloted. Google Titan, on the other hand, is a division formed when the tech giant acquired the New Mexico start-up Titan Aerospace two years ago.