Laser-based internet for wireless networks is one of the things Facebook is focusing on right now. Wired networks already use lasers to carry data through the optical fibers. Wireless ones, however, are based on microwaves and radio frequencies. Facebook wants to change that in order to provide a better service for internet users.
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is looking into ways to make laser-based internet communications omnipresent in our lives. The team over at Connectivity Lab aims to develop technologies that can provide affordable web access services to more than 4 billion people on Earth who are living in remote areas. These technologies have to be specially optimized for such regions where people live too far apart from each other.
This light-based type of wireless communication offers such a way to provide people in very rural places of the Earth with internet. Using laser light could allow for high data capacity, high bandwidths, while also being cost-effective.
According to a recent study conducted by Facebook, rates of over 2GB per second can be obtained using such a technology. The impressively high data rates were achieved using materials available on the market. But the team is now eager to get other groups involved in the development of specially made materials to serve communications applications. If such materials would get to be developed, they will provide data rates of more than 10GB per second, Facebook developers believe.
“We demonstrated the use of fluorescent optical fibers that absorb one color of light and emit another color (…) The optical fibers absorb light coming from any direction over a large area, and the emitted light travels inside the optical fiber, which funnels the light to a small, very fast photodetector,” said Tobias Tiecke, Communications Systems Scientist in Facebook’s Connectivity Lab.
In addition to the search for new partners to develop the technology, the team at Connectivity Lab is planning to develop a prototype and have it tested in the real word, not just inside the lab.
Connectivity Lab has published a paper on the study in the journal Optica. If you are interested to read more about the innovative technology, click here for further information on the subject.