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Project Loon – Internet and Phone Access without Towers or Cables!

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Sometimes disaster brings out the opportunity for technology to take that first step for it to become mainstream. However unfortunate the disaster may be, the technology provides the solution to allow communications to continue that the disaster struck areas can get the assistance that they need. Even though we are at the cusp of breakthroughs and our technology is state of the art, detecting people or their ability to let the world know that they need aid can be limited in a disaster. A perfect example is Peru and recently Puerto Rico.  Both countries have been ravaged by natural disasters which has left the countries with very little ability to communicate with the outside world. Families have been dissipated and homes have been destroyed due to these events. With families that are in other countries that could provide vital aid or governments that need to view the damage, communication and the internet is key.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA brought to light the steps that different industry leaders such as Facebook, Google, and X (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet) are taking to bring internet to the rest of the world that don’t have the sophisticated towers of major cities through giant balloons. Many major organizations such as Facebook have tested the possibilities and are still vetting approval for testing to take place in major cities, but are getting pushback due to ISP providers have not collaborated with these companies and the state/federal restrictions, not to mention FAA guidelines for this type of technology to be dispersed. One company out of the masses was granted approval to service another country during their disaster. That country was Peru and their ISP has been allowing testing to be done with X.  The telecommunications carrier called Telefonica (TEF) has been working with X for months prior to their disaster to get ahead of other countries with this technology. Fortunately for Peru, their gamble to allow X to perform their tests gave them the optimal coverage that they needed to communicate with the rest of the world by providing the much-needed internet and voice services during their disaster. The testing which was done and the disaster usage of this technology has catapulted X to new horizons and pushed this technology to the forefront of not only disaster recovery, but also stretching the barriers of communication out to rural areas.  The possibilities of this technology and its uses are endless.

X has dubbed the name of this project as “Project Loon”. Project Loon has become ever increasingly visible with all the hurricane activity which has been hitting the US coastlines and islands with devastating results. One of the major islands for the US which is currently suffering is Puerto Rico. After damaging floods from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria again hit the island. Since the aftermath of these two disasters, the island is still having power issues, and typical communication methods such as cell phones or the internet are incapable of being used. Power for much of the island is still out and families within the US are devastated by not knowing the fate of loved ones that have been living in Puerto Rico during the storm. Fortunately, the US government has been keeping an eye on Project Loon and noticed its benefit to Peru. Due to the devastation and the success that Peru had with Project Loon, the US government has granted an experimental license for X to provide communications to Puerto Rico.

This approval by the Federal Communications Commission is exactly the type of boost that X has needed to make its mark in the US. It is the opportunity for X to show that Project Loon can support disasters and give the visibility that the world needs to communicate with disaster struck countries. Alphabet, which owns X and Google is has conquered the first hurdle with the approval by the government. However, the approval is only the first barrier that had to be overcome. Unlike Peru, Puerto Rico had not been testing Project Loon before the disasters took place. The problem is Project Loon extends the coverage of a local telecommunications company and distributes those signals through the balloons hovering over the island. Without the testing and collaboration of a pre-designated telecommunications provider, testing and integration must be done with both systems. These tests are vital to ensure that the system works successfully with the designated telecommunications carrier. Even though the system has been proven to work in Peru with Telefonica, these are two different systems, with one that has already been tested and one has not. Despite the hurdles and barriers in front of Project Loon, they have assured that they are making steady progress to successfully launch communications.

Disasters are horrific and never good for people, neighborhoods, cities, or countries.  As unpredictable as natural disasters are, it is the responsibility of the country to ensure that the people enduring this hardship can communicate at the bare minimum. The US is trying to get Puerto Rico back in good standing through the Loon Project which can not only help Puerto Rico, but also connect parts of the country and the world that are in lack of internet and voice. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA commend X with their efforts to bring this technology mainstream and look forward to their continued growth to help countries such as Puerto Rico get and stay connected to the rest of the world.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

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Microsoft Breaking Barriers – Internet Without Wifi – Greater Distance and same High Speed!

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

 

Many people these days don’t go running towards Wifi unless they are still using regular phone plans to where they have a limited amount of data and have to connect to Wifi. With cell phone plans now going with “Unlimited” data, cable providers giving greater data usage to their customers, and “free” hotspots popping up in most public places, it is clear the data usage war is going to Unlimited access.  Most carriers are offering greater service areas and even more service quality as the ways to capture and keep customers. Outside of using your cell phone’s unlimited access which slows down after a certain amount of data is consumed, the “home”, “work”, or “public” wifi is the next best option to get work done on your computer and stay connected.

Most people when disconnecting from their wifi tend to try to get as much done and downloaded as possible in order to rely lightly on the cell phone data usage.  This is typical due to the lack of range for wifi signals inbetween locations such as work to home, home to public places, etc. In between location A and location B, there is a limitation of range for the wifi signal to travel. Most people are thinking that cell phone signals with their hotspots can make up for the disadvantage. Well even in that aspect, there are cell phone towers which are either not close enough or are not in existence that allow cell phone coverage to be choppy in certain areas or slow in connection speed.  Its always a rule of thumb that people in the city get more coverage with both their wifi signal and their cell phone signal. Rural areas tend to suffer are subject to satellite wifi or cell phone hotspots as coverage is limited outside cities.

Well Microsoft has an answer which could change the way how people receive their data stream by increasing coverage while maintaining speed. Microsoft has been testing the usage of tv signals in order to spread wifi signals. This plan would get rid of cables and introduce a truly wireless network that would travel to the farthest reaches of the continent without building extra towers or harnessing an overload on current towers. This plan uses what is called “white space” television bandwidth. In case you are wondering what is “white space”, well we have you covered.  White space are what tv networks had created years ago which operate below 700 Mhz. These white spaces serve as a buffer between the high traffic channels to give them the extra bandwidth to communicate on.  To expound upon the reach, these bands can stretch over 6 miles away and are not altered or disrupted by buildings or vegetation.

Microsoft has been promoting this technology for years and conducting tests in the Philippines, England, Colombia, and Kenya. By 2018 Microsoft is driving to have the project launched within 12 states. The end goal of the project is to extend this feature in 12 states across the US and connect over 2 million Americans in rural areas by July 4th, 2022.  Microsoft estimates that the project will take between 10-15 billion in order to extend the reach to all of rural America.

 

Even though the project deems to show endless possibilities, there are sceptics that believe the interference of  the “white air” will affect television networks from broadcasting by clogging their network.  Surprisingly enough Microsoft asked the FCC to use this spectrum back in 2010, but have not pressed forward with advancing the space or technology until now. Microsoft has beefed up its campaigns by now advertising in rural parts of Virginia and allowing them to connect via white space internet in 1,000 homes. This technology is proving to be cutting edge and will clearly blur the lines of “digital divide” and change the way how people use and interact with the internet by giving more access. Stay tuned as this white space internet will be expanding and coming to a location near you!

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.comcustomerservice@itgurusatl.com|

(888) 511-0143 OR (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/itgurusatl / “FOLLOW US” on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/itgurusatl / “CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

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