El dron de Facebook que ofrecerá Internet a todo el planeta, cada vez más cerca de su lanzamiento

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CLAVES:

  • Facebook continúa esforzándose por garantizar que todas las personas tengan acceso a Internet, independientemente de la zona del planeta que habiten.
  • Para lograrlo, está desarrollando una infraestructura de drones que sobrevolarán los lugares que no alcanza la red tradicional para dotarles de acceso a Internet.
  • Estos aviones no tripulados, llamados Aquila, incorporarán paneles solares en sus alas para mantenerse en el aire durante 3-6 meses de forma totalmente autónoma.
  • Asimismo, los drones podrían conectar unas redes con otras utilizando láseres, lo que llevaría a aumentar la eficiencia y el rendimiento.

A pesar de algunos reveses, el CEO de Facebook Mark Zuckerberg sigue luchando por su objetivo de conectar el mundo entero a través de su organización, Internet.org. Se trata, en última instancia, de garantizar que todas las personas tengan acceso a Internet, independientemente de la zona del planeta que habiten. Y para lograrlo, está ideando una infraestructura de drones para sobrevolar lugares que no alcanza la red tradicional para dotarles de acceso a Internet.

Estos aviones no tripulados, llamados Aquila, volarán en círculos alrededor de áreas sin acceso a Internet, como explicó recientemente Yeal Maguire, el líder del Connectivity Lab de Facebook. Asimismo, Zuckerberg ha confirmado que Facebook ha venido lanzando semanalmente prototipos de sus drones para probar su funcionamiento, y tras los éxitos cosechados, la compañía emprenderá pronto la construcción de modelos de mayor tamaño para pruebas a gran escala.

La nave mediría un total de 139 pies, aunque el eje central, que es el que contiene los componentes más importantes, tiene una extensión de tan solo 10 pies. La nave incorporará paneles solares en sus alas para mantenerse en el aire durante 3-6 meses de forma totalmente autónoma, e independientemente de las condiciones climáticas. El proyecto ha necesitado de una total reinvención del modelo de aviones conocidos hasta la fecha, pues éstos no habían sido pensados para vuelos tan prolongados. Los drones de Facebook estarán hechos de fibra de carbono, para conseguir que pesen lo mínimo posible.

facebook_aquila_2
Fuente: Facebook

El funcionamiento del sistema es más simple de lo que parece: el dron se conectará, utilizando para ello un láser, al punto de acceso a Internet de la ciudad más cercana. Paralelamente, proveerá de acceso a Internet -4G y WiFi- a las comunidades rurales a las que la red convencional no llega todavía. Y a su vez, los drones podrían conectar unas redes con otras utilizando láseres, lo que llevaría a aumentar la eficiencia y el rendimiento.

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Fuente: Facebook

Pese a todo ello, el proyecto no está exento de controversia. Y es que existen ciertos rumores de que la conexión a Internet de la que proveerá Aquila no será totalmente libre, sino limitada a los servicios patrocinados por Facebook. Esto es visto por muchos como una violación de la neutralidad de Internet, por lo que al parecer el proyecto de Zuckerberg todavía tiene muchos desafíos, no solo técnicos, que superar.

POPULAR SCIENCE. Facebook’s Enormous Internet Drone Is Almost Ready For Primetime. 23 de febrero de 2016 [Consultado 21-04-2016]. Disponible en: http://www.popsci.com/facebooks-full-scale-internet-drone-is-almost-ready-for-primetime

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