Facebook and its dream of connecting remote areas to Internet is known to one and all. Last year, Facebook unveiled Aquila -- a solar-powered internet drone to beam internet to remote areas. And now, the social networking giant has developed something which might make its dream become a reality faster than ever.

A team of talented engineers at Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Connectivity Lab have successfully developed a new optical technology that helps laser beams to deliver fast Internet access to remote areas all around the globe. The company was working on this for last half a year.

Lasers are considered as a favourable way to send data over to long distances because of two main reasons. Firstly, they have the potential of holdings in a lot of data/information and propagating a long distance. Not only this, they don't even need a dedicated spectrum of their own like in the in case of cellular networks, meaning they can be easily put to use in setting up ad hoc data links in locations that are totally off the grid. Secondly, since they make use of line-of-sight light transmission, more than one can be deployed in the same area without any disturbance.

Though, in order to attain high data rates, the detectors used for the purpose of catching the light signals will have to be small in size. The problem here is, when a beam of light transmits through space, it ends up becoming wider than the detector itself. While optics can be put to use for focusing the light back down, it's extremely expensive and majorly complex. Hence, Facebook's Connectivity Lab engineers decided to work around the problem and became successful in overcoming it.

Writing in the journal Optica, the engineers explains that instead of making use of optics, the engineers have used fluorescent materials for collecting light from data-carrying laser beams. A series of plastic optical fibers, which are applied with organic dye molecules known to absorb blue light and re-emit it as green light, are shaped into an almost spherical shape. When a laser signal makes contact with the optical fibers, they end up emitting green light within a time period of just two nanoseconds. Ultimately, the light ends up travelling down the length of the optical fibers and gets directed toward a small but fast photo-detector.

As of now, the system can be deployed for receiving signals carrying data at rates of up to 2.1 gigabits per second. But, according to the engineers behind the invention, it has the potential to go much faster than that if the system was built to absorb infrared, rather than blue light.

In order to realise its dream of taking data to the sticks, Facebook has been continuously coming up with several new ideas and projects. In fact, one of its project, the Telecom Infra Project, makes use of open-source cellular networks to attain similar outcomes.

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