Expanding global access to fast, affordable internet with beams of light

Increasing access to the internet will require affordable, reliable, and scalable infrastructure.

Global internet traffic is projected to grow 24% annually. Fiber-optic cable can support this growth in demand, but rolling out an extensive fiber network often means deployment complications. Planning and digging trenches to lay lines can be time-consuming and costly, and tough terrain can pose physical challenges that make expansion nearly impossible. Because of the difficulties laying fiber in some places, there’s a significant divide in mobile internet speeds between the countries with the fastest internet and those with the slowest.

There is a 7X difference in mobile internet speeds between countries with the fastest and slowest internet
Source: Opensignal

A potential solution to this problem arose during work on Project Loon. The Loon team needed to figure out a way to create a data link between balloons that were flying over 100 km apart. The team investigated the use of wireless optical communication technology to establish high-throughput links between balloons. Like fiber, but without the cables, wireless optical communication uses light to transmit high-speed data between two points.

After experiencing some early success in the stratosphere, the team began to wonder: would it be possible to apply some of that science to solve connectivity problems down a little closer to Earth?

Like fiber, but without the cables, Taara uses light to transmit information at super high speeds through the air as a very narrow, invisible beam.

A member of the Taara team installing a wireless optical communications connection

Extending high-speed, broadband connectivity to the unconnected

The Taara team has piloted their technology in India and Africa. Taara links offer a cost-effective and quickly deployable way to bring high-speed connectivity to remote areas. Taara links help plug critical gaps to major access points, like cell towers and WiFi hotspots, and have the potential to help thousands of people access the educational, business, and communication benefits of the web.


High-throughput links move data wirelessly

Flexible Technology
With a clear line of sight, wireless optical communication technology can transmit data at high speeds of up to 20 Gbps. A single link can cover distances up to 20 km and be used to extend fiber networks.
Long range line-of-sight data transmissions at 20+ km.
High-throughput supports 10-100s Gbps data rates.
Connectivity Across Terrains
The system is effective in areas that are difficult to connect using fiber cables. These include sites located around forests, water bodies, railway tracks, or land with high real estate costs.
Easy To Integrate
Based on open standards to work seamlessly with existing infrastructure and environments.

Bringing the internet to underserved locations

The Taara team is now focused on delivering 20+ Gbps connectivity over distances of 20+ km between each terminal and on making the units fast and easy for partners to deploy. The team is in conversation with Telcos, ISPs and governments around the world about the potential for wireless optical communication technology to significantly accelerate the deployment of the extensive, high-throughput networks necessary to support the future of the web.