Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, set a world record for transmitting 100 gigabits of data per second over a distance of 20M in the lab.
In their world record experiment, 100 gigabits of data per second were transmitted at a frequency of 237.5 GHz over a distance of 20 m, in the laboratory. In previous field experiments under the “Millilink” project, funded by the BMBF, rates of 40 gigabits per second, and transmission distances of more than 1 km were reached. But for this latest world record, the scientists applied a photonic method to generate the radio signals at the transmitter. After radio transmission, fully integrated electronic circuits were used in the receiver.
“We have managed to develop a radio link based on active electronic circuits, which enables similarly high data rates as in fiber-optic systems, therefore allowing seamless integration of the radio link,” said Professor Ingmar Kallfass, coordinator of the project at Fraunhofer IAF. The device uses 80 GHz of spectrum between 200 and 280 GHz. The atmosphere has less attenuation at this frequency.
Jochen Antes of KIT noted that: “This makes our radio link easier to install compared to free-space optical systems for data transmission. It also shows better robustness in poor weather conditions such as fog or rain.” There is room for improvement. Antes added, “Improving the spectral efficiency by using more complex modulation formats or a combination of several channels, i.e. multiplexing, will help to achieve even higher data rates.”
Researchers believe that in the future, such radio links will be able to close gaps in providing broadband internet by supplementing the network in rural areas and places which are difficult to access.
Professor Ingmar Kallfass also believes, that it will be applications (with such radio links), for private homes: “At a data rate of 100 gigabits per second, it would be possible to transmit the contents of a blue-ray disk or of five DVDs between two devices by radio within two seconds only” he says.
This technology could be ideal for providing the last kilometer connection for “fiber to the home” services, especially in rural areas where it could be a cost-effective and flexible alternative to fiber.
In conclusion, cheaper is better, as this technology promises. And it could replace cable expansion of networks across waterways, the last mile to the home, and other areas where a line of sight laser system, such as this, is more economical. So, we just have to be patient…
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