Italian Scientists Claim New World Record for Fastest Wireless Transmission

Illustration for article titled Italian Scientists Claim New World Record for Fastest Wireless Transmission

Fiber optics have a new competitor, if a group of Italian scientists can get their claim of a new world record for wireless data transmission confirmed by the people who confirm such things. The scientists, based in Pisa, claim that during an uninterrupted 12-hour experiment, they achieved throughput speeds above 1.2 Terabits per second. They say the speeds beat the previous wireless data transmission speed record of 160 gigabits per second, set by some speedy Koreans. The Italians also claimed these speeds were previously attainable only with fiber optics. That's fitting considering both methods involve communicating with light. Don't get too excited though, as there are major issues keeping this experiment from becoming widespread. At least, on Earth.Via the original article, the Harvard Broadband Communication Laboratory provides this explanation of Free-Space Optical Communications and gives some insight as to why this method doesn't work very well unless used under optimal conditions:

"Free space optical communications is a line-of-sight (LOS) technology that transmits a modulated beam of visible or infrared light through the atmosphere for broadband communications. In a manner similar to fiber optical communications, free space optics uses a light emitting diode (LED) or laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) point source for data transmission. However, in free space optics, an energy beam is collimated and transmitted through space rather than being guided through an optical cable. These beams of light, operating in the TeraHertz portion of the spectrum, are focused on a receiving lens connected to a high sensitivity receiver through an optical fiber."


The hurdles with this form of "wireless" are many, and it really only gets optimal speeds in places like space. Rain, fog and snow can all affect the transmission here on Earth. Even wind has a tendency to make the beam "wander" off course. [Corriere Della Sera via Hot Hardware]



No, I'm not contesting that light isn't an electromagnetic emission, I'm contesting that saying both use light is incorrect by definition and clarity. To call an optical fiber transmission which uses infrared and visual light, light, is fine, but when you group a radio emission with a light emission and call it light your confusing people who are not familiar with physics. Hence, it would be more accurate to say electromagnetic emissions. Just because they both travel at the speed of light doesn't make them both light. I can bounce a flashlight off a mirror and make a certain radio wave go right through it. The properties of the different chunks of the EM spectrum are massive and profound, hence the quest for accuracy