Wireless radio communications are about to become nearly real-time with a new 100-gigabit-per-second technology.
Just how fast is “real time” wireless? Imagine an entire Blu-ray disc worth of data could be communicated between a transmitting device and receiving device in about two or three seconds. Or theentire memory contents of your typical iPhone could be dumped to a storage system in about a second or so. News that researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have achieved anexperimental wireless transmission rate of 100 gigabits per second will make it possible.
The prototype system is called Millilink, and as you may expect from an experimental technology, the range was pretty limited–just 20 meters inside the lab. It works in a rather stunning way, combining both radio signals and laser photonics. Two different frequency laser signals are mixed in a “photo mixer” chip by being captured on a sensitive photodiode, which then generates an electrical signal based on the frequency difference of the two incoming signals. The resulting high frequency signal, at 237.5 GHz (basically 2,000 times higher frequency than your typical FM radio channel), is sent on to an antenna. The data signal that is transmitted is encoded on this carrier wave by modulating it, using fairly typical methods.
The team at KIT thinks it can multiplex different streams of data together cleverly and transmit it over multiple antennas, similar to the multi-antenna solution of 802.11 N. With some finesse, this should mean their electro-optical antenna could manage data speeds of about 1 terabit per second.
See on www.kit.edu
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