The project aims to increase users’ internet speeds over long distances.
The quest to launch a technology that can revolutionize network communications across space, land and sea has been in the offing for several decades. As a result, many space telecommunications companies are orchestrating several projects to drive advanced communications networks to ubiquitous availability.
While many companies have made attempts to bring this high-speed communication network to life, the latest company to launch this breed of network communication technology is Aalyria.
Aalyria, a Google spinoff, announced its launch as an independent company with the quest to create and manage robust advanced network technology. Aalyria is a brainchild of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, with the vision to use space laser technologies on a different scale. The start-up intends to use lasers to revamp the internet over long distances at faster speeds.
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Aalyria claims that their project will leverage a combination of two technologies formerly developed at Alphabet: Atmospheric laser communications technology and a software platform for orchestrating networks that will span across planetary space.
Aalyria’s main focus will be to use intelligent network orchestration and atmospheric free-space optics to expand complex communication networks on Earth and other places lacking connectivity infrastructure.
“We can orchestrate high-speed urban meshes and global unified network operations, and we can help connect the next three billion people,” said Chris Taylor, CEO of Aalyria.
Does Google have a stake in this project?
Although Google has declined to reveal its input in the Aalyria project, how much it’s invested and the number of staff that will join the start-up, it is clear that Google is backing the launch. A recent report from CNBC revealed that Google has been working behind closed doors on some projects aimed at enhancing high-speed communications networks, one of which gave rise to Aalyria.
With Google announcing that it had transferred a high volume of intellectual property patents, including physical assets and office space to Aalyria earlier this year, it’s expected that the company will retain some stakes in the Aalyria project. Google will also have Vint Cerf, one of its popular internet gurus, on Aalyria’s board of advisors.
The two main technologies driving the Aalyria project
Aalyria said it would leverage two main technologies, Spacetime and Tightbeam, which they developed over the years to achieve its vision of a world and space connected in one communication network.
Spacetime technology is software for orchestrating ground stations, satellites, urban meshes and aircraft networks. The software is expected to facilitate communication networks at any altitude level and provides support to all bands of radio frequency and optical wavelengths. According to Aalyria, the software will integrate with hybrid space, legacy, 5G NTN and FutureG network architectures.
Tightbeam, on the other hand, is an atmospheric laser communication technology. Aalyria claims that it’s the most advanced light-free space optics technology in the world. The start-up further claims that its Tightbeam technology will be compared to no known technology in terms of speed and coverage of communication networks in areas where such was non-existent. Tightbeam is expected to revamp WiFi connections on planes and ships, cellular connectivity and satellite communications.
“These technologies will set the new standard for intelligently orchestrating, managing and extending mesh networks across all domains … to create connectivity everywhere — no matter the protocol,” Taylor said.
What does this mean for the future of advanced communication networks?
The advanced communication networks have witnessed many decades of evolution with the goal of delivering network communication access across land, air, sea and deep space. Moreover, with the rising interest in having ultra-speed WiFi connections on air, low Earth and space, some companies have made huge investments in advancing communication networks.
Earlier this year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched 52 Starlink satellites, promising to deliver a high-speed internet connection to as many people as possible. Apart from SpaceX, other companies such as Viasat and HughesNet are all making inroads into providing advanced communication networks.
With Elon Musk committing a whopping $30 billion to StarLink in 2021, it is expected that more investments in the space telecommunication industry will happen in the future. Aalyria already gained governmental support from an initial $8 million contract. However, whether more investment will come their way remains to be seen.
Now that Aalyria has joined the host of companies providing internet access to land, sea and other planetary spaces, we might be looking at a future where we do not have to rely on slow WiFi on planes, sluggish internet connections in remote areas or underground.