Facebook Connectivity Lab, one of the innovative developmental divisions of the leading social media giant will soon offer fast optical wireless networks capable of delivering internet service to far flung places where wireless infrastructure is unavailable. The new technology will be far more superior to the ones based on radio frequencies or microwaves.
The whole idea behind serving this technology is to offer Facebook services to remote places and help users stay connected to their near and dear ones.
In 2015, Facebook’s engineering division discovered in a survey that 63% of the world populace lack proper internet infrastructure. This includes nations from South America, Africa, Asia and some parts of Europe.
Facebook wants to do a favor to them by providing them an economical medium to access web. At the same time, it wants to increase its user base through this activity.
Experimentation on light based wireless communication is already going on full swing. It is called as free space optical communication where laser light is used to carry data across atmosphere at very high bandwidths and in high data capacity. Intel is indulging in this experimentation on full scale and Cisco is also carrying out this experimentation on a secret note.
The primary challenge faced by the said companies is to precisely focus a very small laser beam carrying data on a very tiny detector located at a distance.
To overcome this challenge fluorescent materials are being used by Facebook, instead of traditional optics to collect light and concentrate it onto a small photodetector.
As per the update provided by Facebook engineers, a combined light collector featured in 126 sq cm of surface is being used to collect light from any direction, with existing telecommunication technology to achieve data rates of more than 2 gigabytes per second (Gbps).
Researchers have found that fluorescent optical fibre can absorb one color of light and emit another color. These fibers have the ability to absorb light coming from any direction over a large area. The absorbed light can be funneled into a small, very fast photo detector made of plastic optical fibers containing organic dye molecules that absorb blue light and emit green light.
A motion platform collects the light from the fibers and points the light to the collection area.
Fast speeds of less than two nanoseconds lapse is possible between the blue light absorption and the green light emission.
By using this setup of signal modulation method called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing(OFDM), Facebook engineers have succeeded in transmitting more than 2 Gbps despite the systems bandwidth of 100 Mhz.
In a few months time, they are also planning to implement the same in their data center environment where light technology will be used to transmit data between their storage servers solutions.
Its similar to the one said above, but is more related to Visible Light Communications(VLC) technology also called as Light Fidelity Technology-shortly known as Li-Fi- a good compete to Wi-Fi.
More details will be revealed by Facebook on Open Compute Project platform at the end of this year.