Scientists Create Wi-Fi That Can Transmit Seven Blu-ray Movies Per Second

If you think your home Wi-Fi connection is pretty good, think again. Scientists have been working on a new way to transmit data wirelessly, and they can now transfer a scorching 2.5 terabits of information per second.

Let us put that another way: that's the same as transmitting seven full Blu-ray movies per second. But how the hell do they do it? Well, the team of American and Israeli researchers have used a neat new concept, where the electromagnetic waves that usually carry data are twisted into vortex beams. ExtremeTech describes the concept well:

These twisted signals use orbital angular momentum (OAM) to cram much more data into a single stream. In current state-of-the-art transmission protocols (WiFi, LTE, COFDM), we only modulate the spin angular momentum (SAM) of radio waves, not the OAM. If you picture the Earth, SAM is our planet spinning on its axis, while OAM is our movement around the Sun. Basically, the breakthrough here is that researchers have created a wireless network protocol that uses both OAM and SAM.

The combination of the two provides some amazing possibilities. So far, the researchers, from University of Southern California, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Tel Aviv University, have twisted together eight data streams, each operating at 300Gbps, to achieve the new record of 2.5 terabits per second. At the moment, they've only transmitted signals as far as one metre. That should be scaled up before long -- though the researchers admit 1km is probably an upper limit.

What's perhaps most interesting is that the technique can be used to twist together an awful lot of slower data connections. The researchers, who have published their findings in Nature, explain that in theory it should be possible to twist together hundreds or even thousands of conventional LTE signals into a single beam. That ought to help address the impending bandwith crisis.

Of course, all that remains is for the team to develop the technology into something robust enough to use on a commercial scale -- and there's no telling how long that might take. [Nature via ExtremeTech]

Image: Markus Gann/Shutterstock

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    Oh all the anti NBN people will be onto this like a fat kid to a candy store. Lets just remember you need the NBN to get them speeds.

      Hey who needs nbn when there is a wireless technology that may be better than 1gb optic (in 20 years)

        hummm. what goes faster then the speed of light?
        Still thinking? Yes, that is correct, NOTHING DOES!!
        GO NBN!

          That makes no sense. All electrical impulses travel at the speed of light. Dialup signal goes at the speed of light. Physical speed of signal does not equal speed of data transfer.

          You do realise that wireless signals ARE light waves? Time to get edjumacted.

        " That should be scaled up before long — though the researchers admit 1km is probably an upper limit."

        Awesome so you're proposing more towers than we have already for mobile phones just to run wireless?

        You still need a "large pipe" to carry the data from wireless towers to other locations anyway.

        You cannot have a super fast wireless network without a faster wired backbone to support it.

        doesn't seem anyone got it, Sean. People need sarcasm detectors.

      Quote from the article: "This technique is likely to be used in the next few years to vastly increase the throughput of both wireless and fiber-optic networks." Fibre will more reliably hit its theoretical maximum bandwidth of course. I think this will be be seen in backhaul first because its usefulness in a home environment is limited by the hardware it would be servicing, not to mention the cost of the DSP gear needed is not in the realms of home users.

      Your comment shows that the NBN has really become a religious arguement IMO. I am critical of some parts of the NBN, but NBN zealots have to remember that criticism does not mean that the person criticising is 100% opposed to the project and you can't immediately jump on them yelling "hater! hater!" when they disagree with you about the finer details of its implementation.

    Where is my tin foil hat....

      And my tin foil shoes

        And my tin foil cup

          And my Tin Foil Axe!

            Brilliantly must be a redditor *Doffs cap*

              Those redditors are indeed lurking around these parts...

          and my tin foil iphone case.

      You joke, but it seems to me that's got to be a lot of energy (directed or omni directional.?) to be firing from a device. Would it even be safe to use in a home environment? I really hope so, because this would be some sweet tech to kill off ethernet altogether. :)

        and microwave your lunch on the way past! bonus

          I'll stand in front of it with my pants down. cheaper than a vasectomy

        I didn't see any mention of transmition strength in the article? have you done some research elsewhere that gives details? I'd love to see it. Even the link in the story to didnt say what the transmition strength is.

    So....will this eventually get us around the spectrum crunch?


      For this system to work one antenna needs to be pointed at another antenna and be in the same orientation. Its a beam of radiation, not an omni directional transmition. It could be used to improve Wireless backhaul and communications to Satelites but thats about it. Possibly A WiFi link from one end of your house to the other similar to a Ruckus, but not a wireless network in the normal sense.

    This tech sounds like it would suffer at the hands os anything other than air getting in the transmission path.

Join the discussion!