Facebook’s Connectivity Lab reported that it has achieved its fasted speeds yet in wireless data transfer during the second day of the F8 2017 Facebook Developer Conference held this week in San Jose, California.
Those marks included a point-to-point data rate of 36 Gbps over 8 miles with millimeter-wave (mmWave) technology, and 80 Gbps between those same points using our optical cross-link technology. Last year, Facebook tested a terrestrial point-to-point link in Southern California, which achieved a data rate of nearly 20 Gbps over 8 miles using mmWaves.
The lab team also used the technology to demonstrate 16 Gbps simultaneously in each direction from a location on the ground to a circling Cessna aircraft more than 4 miles away. This real-life test showed how the point-to-point MMW radio link can be used as the connection between a ground station and Aquila, Facebook’s solar powered UAV.
Closer to home, the mmWave technology could be used as a terrestrial backhaul network to support access solutions like OpenCellular, according to Facebook, or as a reliable backup to free space optical solutions. It seems only appropriate that Facebook is helping design faster wireless networks, since it plans on adding to the glut of data soon to go down those pipes.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg told the F8 audience about a number of virtual reality (VR) and augment reality (AR) apps that will amuse and inform users, as well as increase data use.
Features to be rolled out to users include virtual chess games, virtual hangout rooms with you and your friends’ customized avatars to an AR app for jogging designed by Nike. While it is difficult to discern which of these will take off like the Pokemon Go app, one thing seems for sure. These are the use cases that may drive the demand for data and provide a reason for the carriers to build out 5G networks.