Facebook might be bringing us all high speed Internet

Steven Loeb · February 9, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/432f

The company has filed patents for millimeter-wave networks, similar to what Starry is doing

Mark Zuckerberg has spent the last few years talking incessantly about connecting the entire world to the Internet. “The next five billion” has been a constant refrain for nearly three years now. What about us, though? What about the Internet in the United States? We have a lot of people connected, but the speeds are terrible.

Perhaps he's finally ready to do something about that, as Facebook has filed two separate patents for millimeter wave networks, which use much higher carrier frequencies than those in current systems, such as 4G and Wi-Fi, resulting in faster Internet speeds. 

The first patent, which was filed in October and is still pending, is for a "Next Generation Data Network," which would leverage the cloud for "data management, frequency data computation and analytics." 

"The wireless network is a single frequency network that permits limited non-line-of-sight operation. The wireless network using packet switched beams, the beams are formed and switched electronically. It utilizes advanced signal processing to compensate for low transmit signal power and multipath reflections that can be frequency or flat fades," it says.

The second patent, which was filed in March of 2014, describes it as "a wireless Data network that reuses the same frequency band in all cells."

"The system dynamically adjusts route and frequency channel assignments, transmit power, modulation, coding, and symbol rate to maximize network capacity and probability of packet delivery, rather than trying to maximize the capacity of any one link," it says.

The technology that Facebook is talking about here is similar to that of Starry, the new company from Chet Kanojia, former CEO of Aereo, which was unveiled last month.

Facebook confirmed to the Verge, which first discovered these patents, that this technology is part of the company's Internet.org iniative, which is how Facebook has been attempting to get the entire world online. It's also a part of Facebook's Connectivity Lab, which the company unveiled in March of 2014, in order to develop new technology to "make affordable access to basic internet services available to every person in the world."

VatorNews reached out to Facebook for information about its potential plans for this technology, and we will update this story if we learn more.

There's obviously no telling if, or when, Facebook might bring us these millimeter wave networks, but it is something that we desperately need.

According to data from cloud services provider Akamai, the United States currently has the 24th fastest Internet in the world, right behind The United Kingdom, and above Norway. The top five are all in Asia: Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Also beating the U.S. are Qatar, Latvia, Macao and Bulgaria. For a country that likes to tout itself as being the most powerful in the world, that is a pretty pitiful performance.

Of course, Facebook isn't the only company looking to bring the country high speed Internet. There is also Google Fiber, which is currently in nine cities: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh–Durham, Salt Lake City and San Antonio. There's also AT&T's GigaPower, which recently announced expansion to 38 metro areas. 

However both of those initatives are taking an awfully long time to get going. Google Fiber has been around for years; it was launched in 2010, yet it still covers only a small part of the country. In an interview with Re/Code's Kara Swisher earlier this month, Kanojia made it clear why he thinks that millimeter-wave networks are the future. Basically, they don't require the same infrastructure, and cables, as broadband Internet does.

“I’m not convinced,” Kanojia said of Fiber. “I don’t see anybody digging up ditches in New Delhi and Mexico City. Wireless infrastructure has to do.”

(Image source: spinfluence.com)

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