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DARPA Turns Old Drones From Iraq Into Flying Wi-Fi Hotspots

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RQ-7Life seems to fade away when we don’t have access to internet, doesn’t it? This is literally true for the armed forces when they’re in hostile area or on a battlefield since the elite armies nowadays rely on a fast internet connection and if they don’t have access to it then the chances of surviving or winning the battle go down to a very low number. DARPA has come up with a new technique to ensure Wi-Fi availability or to bring internet access even during the battle to reinforce the forces engaged.

hotspotThis latest plan makes use of the RQ-7 Shadow drones which were used during the war in Iraq. The RQ-7 weighs about 185 pounds and has a length of 11 ft. For the required task, though, it is more than what is required. The key task over here is to bring Wi-Fi hotspot in a particular area and make sure that the signal is being broadcasted without any interruption and to ensure that a secure connection from ground level can be made without the need for any huge antenna. All this has been achieved by making the drone work in the ultra-high millimeter waveband while incorporating unique low-noise amplifiers to help boost the signal. The Shadow is capable of staying in the air for around 9 hours at a time after which it can be easily replaced with another Shadow.

This whole project is part of the Pentagon’s Flying Hotspots Program whose objective is to deliver ‘a scalable, mobile millimeter-wave communications backhaul network mounted on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and providing a 1 GB/s capacity.’

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RQ-7-Shadow1This approach looks quite similar to how Facebook is planning to bring internet to areas without internet connection by employing drones. However, this right here is military grade and therefore the whole thing is on a different level.

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