Not only is Google going to great lengths to provide fast Internet, it’s going to great heights as well. In a new initiative known as Project Skybender, the Silicon Valley giant is looking into employing solar-powered drones to beam down 5G Internet. The highly secretive project is based out of — I kid you not — Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and involves a series of unmanned flying devices that use millimeter-wave radio transmissions. These signals are considered the foundation of next generation 5G Wi-Fi, and could potentially send gigabits of data per second, making for Internet that is 40 times faster than 4G LTE.
This is not Google’s only drone-based Internet delivery system currently in testing — there’s also Project Loon, which seeks to provide Internet to the entire world by way of balloons. But the Skybender Project is focused much more on using breakthrough innovations to bring incredibly speedy Wi-Fi to those of us who can no longer stand for decently speedy Internet.
The millimeter wave technology that forms the lynchpin of the whole endeavor is described as the “future of high-speed data transmission technology,” and is thought to be the basis of a next-generation (read: 5G) mobile network. Google isn’t the only company to be experimenting with this transmission technique — as The Verge reports, Chet Kanojia, the founder of Aereo, has a new startup called Starry that also plans to use millimeter waves for gigabit Internet speeds to customers.
The problem with millimeter waves today lies in their short range and volatility (they don’t stand up well to precipitation or even fog), but Google and others are looking to rectify these issues.
Ultimately, says the Guardian, Google hopes to send a fleet thousands of quadcopters strong to deliver 5G Internet. And while there are no promises yet as to the outcome of these ongoing tests, if they work, we’re in for some breakneck Wi-Fi speeds.