Google (GOOG) is reportedly testing out a new way of bringing 5G Internet speeds to the United States and they’re looking at using drones to do it. The company has been carrying out testing at the Spaceport America in New Mexico. The testing project has been codenamed SkyBender and got underway late last summer. According to records made available through public information laws, the drones are being used to experiment with millimeter wave radio transmissions.
The millimeter radio waves are said to be the technology that will bring about Internet speeds about 40 times faster than what we’re seeing with 4G LTE systems. The company feels that using drones in order to deliver these speeds will mean that there won’t need to be towers or receivers installed. Instead the drones will be able to deliver the Internet from the skies and will be able to reach more remote parts of the country than is currently possible.
Google eventually wants thousands of these self-flying craft flying high through the air, delivering the Internet all over the world. Researchers familiar with the technology say the use of millimeter radio waves is a big key to bringing 5G Internet precisely because broadband waves are already packed full and there’s really nowhere else to go in that area.
The downside of using millimeter waves is they have a much shorter range than mobile phone signals. The frequency that Google is experimenting with in the New Mexico desert would reportedly have about a tenth of the range of the average 4G phone signal. In order to make up for the loss of range, Google is attempting to implement focused transmissions from a phased array. The problem is this is a brand new approach and the firm is still attempting to work out the kinks. The SkyBender system is being tested using a couple of different drone models, the Centaur and the solar-powered Google Titan.