20-Gigabit Wireless Data Achieved By Crossing Laser Beams

How do you make a wireless transmission that is as fast or even faster than most fiber-optic data passages? With laser beams of course! According to a Technology Review piece, super smart people at Battelle research in Columbus, OH figured out a way, using millimeter wave technology, to send data at speeds up to 20 gigabits per second. They even field tested 10 Gbps at up to 800 meters. Even accounting for Ohio's unnervingly flat terrain, this is several hundred times farther than a wireless transmission of that bandwidth had ever reached before.

Rather than dick around in the 10-gigahertz frequency space—higher than most of today's phones and wireless data products, but still in the realm of conventional radio—the Battelle team figured out how to create a 100GHz frequency by "modulat[ing]data on two low-frequency laser beams, then combin[ing]the two." I knew crossing the streams of a proton gun could be bad; I did not know crossing laser beams modulated with data signal could be this good. I suppose the breakthrough does bode well for wireless devices, but I can't imagine how any of this could run off of a lithium-ion battery. And, hey, wouldn't laser phones make us all go blind? OK, smart people, please start talking, cuz I'm definitely over my head on this one. [MIT Tech Review via KurzweilAI.Net]

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