How can Facebook expand past its 2.2 billion monthly active users? Perhaps by bringing the internet to more places.
Facebook has tested one method that uses plane-mounted lasers that can shoot a high-speed internet connection through the sky, according to a February 2018 paper seen by Business Insider. With the lasers, the company was able to create a wireless link between the plane and a ground station 9 km (5.6 miles) away. Facebook confirmed these details to CNET.
Although experimental, this shows one way to send high-speed internet to remote locations. How fast is this internet? According to Facebook, it was able to create a 10-gigabit-per-second bidirectional optical link.
But Facebook can make the connection even faster with different tech. In a blog post on Wednesday, Facebook said it was able to send 40Gbps simultaneously in each direction from a location on the ground to an aircraft 7 km (4.3 miles) away. But this test uses millimeter-wave technology, not lasers.
This is part of Facebook's continued work on developing a fast wireless internet connection that can be shot through the sky or even space. Previously, Facebook's Aquila project used a Facebook-made high-altitude drone to beam internet to remote places. The social network recently dropped the Aquila project but is still focusing on creating faster internet connections.