Worlds Fastest Wireless Network (1.2Tb/)
Scientists in Pisa, Italy claim to have set a new world record for the fastest wireless data transmission. They report that during an uninterrupted 12-hour experiment, they were able to achieve throughput speeds above 1.2 Terabits per second; which they say beats the previous wireless data transmission speed record of 160 Gigabits per second by Korean scientists. The researchers claim that speeds of this magnitude can typically only be achieved using fiber optics.
The technology that the Pisa scientists utilized to achieve such high bandwidth, actually shares a significant similarity with fiber optics: Both technologies use optical communications. Unlike Wi-Fi or microwave communications, which use radio-based transmissions, the Pisa scientists used a Technology called free-space optical communications, which transmits data using light.
In vacuum of space, it is possible to transmit tens of megabits per second or more over many thousands of kilometers, using moderate laser average powers of the order of a few watts. On Earth, however, there are a number of challenges that currently limit the range of free space optical communications to only a few kilometers.
The Harvard Broadband Communication Laboratory states, "although relatively unaffected by rain and snow, free space optical communication systems can be severely affected by fog and atmospheric turbulence."
One of the biggest challenges that free space optical communications faces--whether in space or on Earth--is that communications are limited to line-of-site. Unlike some radio communications, free space optical communications requires that no obstacles interfere with the beam, and it cannot bend around objects.