With WIFI and LTE(cell phone signals) hitting the upper limits of their bandwidth, a new technology could potentially allow near instant and huge network connections to be had by laptops, cell phones and tablets, and that only scratches the surface of this technology’s potential. What’s more, the wave of the future for networking communication may quite literally lie in a twisted signal. One only recently “discovered”.
Current technology utilizes spin angular momentum (SAM) which in its simplest form, can be described as the Earth’s axial spin. The twisted signal mentioned above combines SAM with a concept called orbital angular momentum (OAM), which can be simply described as the Earth’s rotation around the sun.
A team from University of Southern California and a team from Tel Aviv University led by Alan Willner recently managed to twist 8 visible light streams, using OAM, into two sets of four visible light streams. Next, one set of streams was transmitted in a single tight stream. The other four streams were then sent around the single tight set. All of these combined streams became a beam. This beam was sent over the space of 1 meter, at a speed of 320 gigabytes per second (per stream,) with the 8 simultaneous streams totaling 2.5 terabits per second.
Bo Thide a Swedish physicist had only just proved this concept a few months ago and claims this is a huge breakthrough for communication and the Internet. How huge? Well the typical broadband cable supports about 30 megabits/per second (Mb/s) while WIFI and LTE(4G) hit around 100 Mb/s. This new model system transmits more than 85,000 times more data per second than cable and is only a paltry 25,000 times faster than LTE.
The Rest of Us
So now what does this mean for the average user? When it comes to fiber optics it doesn’t mean a whole lot currently. Fiber has a long way to go before we come close to filling up the amount of bandwidth that is available.
This technology could be used to get rid of the traditional TV cable model and make way for “TV” to be streamed to any wireless device. Not to mention no need to buffer Youtube videos and be able to view videos in Blu-Ray quality. These near instantaneous speeds would make things like the recent fad, Cloud computing, infinitely more practical. Devices could be made more lightweight and rely on the “cloud” to contain the information needed to boot/run the devices which requires less hardware.
Of course it is important to remember that this has been done in a lab and we may not see real results for a few years. The next step is for the scientists to work on hardware that can send the signal further than 1 meter. But right now the networking possibilities seem endless (much like the bandwidth) and the future bright for wireless.
Photo Credit: Frartos