Wireless networks are becoming faster all the time and the new 802.11ac standard promises speeds up to 1,300 megabit per second, but a group of scientists has now demonstrated a new wireless data technology that allows for speeds up to staggering 2,560,000 megabit per second.
The new record speed was achieved over the distance of 1 meter and is equal to 2,56 Terabit per second – or 2000 times faster than the new 802.11ac protocol. The key to the extreme speeds is that the scientists have used a new technology for squeezing more data into each signal stream. The technology is called orbital angular momentum multiplexing (OAM) and is used to combine multiple light data streams, in this case eight streams each with a capacity of 300 Gigabit per second. A more detailed description of the advanced transfer technology can be found at ExtremeTech.com.
The perhaps most exciting bit about the OAM technology, a solution that just a few months ago had not even been confirmed to work, is the possibility to combine data signals from other transfer protocols. The scientists, from among other, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Tel Aviv University, says that in theory it can combine thousands of WiFi or LTE signals in one and the same data stream, which will increase data bandwidth linearly with the number of signal and not oocupy the same space in the already crowded radio frequency bands. The spectral efficiency of OAM data streams is 95.7 bits per hertz, which can be compared to 16.32 bits per hertz with LTE and 2.4 bits per hertz with traditional 802.11n WiFi.
Like most new technologies there is still a long way to go before they reach the retail channel. The next step is to increase range of the data transmission, where the scientists believe they will be able to scale the distance quite fast, but distances over 1 kilometer might be tough. And making the transfers work outside vacuum, where winds, hot air and turbulence might disturb the signals. We keep our fingers crossed for continued success in a not too distant future.