After Alphabet, which owns Google, retired at the beginning of the year its Loon project, which intended to spread internet access around the world through a network of balloons, the experience was not entirely lost. High-speed wireless optical link (WCO) technology, used to transmit lasers between stratospheric balloons, is being used in another visionary technology: Project Taara.
The idea of Taara started just when the Loon team was setting up the WOC between the balloons that were separated from each other by distances that exceeded 100 kilometers. Resolving, literally, to put their feet on the ground, they started using the technology on the ground. With this, those responsible for the project were able to fill a real connectivity gap between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, capitals of the two republics of Congo.
Although the cities are close together, just 4.8 kilometers apart, the Congo River, which runs between the two, ends up adding very high infrastructure costs. The problem is mainly in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where providers would have to extend a fiber connection more than 400 kilometers long, just to bypass the river.
How does Project Taara work?
The contour of the Congo River was successfully done. The Project Taara team managed, in just 20 days, to complete the high-speed connection between the two capitals, with 99.9% availability, installing links that served almost 700 TB of data. Taara’s links were installed to connect the WOC light beams over the river. Although not indicated for use in foggy places, the tools did the job.
In a blog post by X Company, the company that is developing the project, engineering director Baris Erkmen acknowledges that it is not possible to guarantee complete reliability in all types of weather and conditions. But he says he hopes Taara’s capabilities can be refined to serve more populations in the future.