Virtual Single-Mode Connector Enables Free-Space Optical Communications

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Executive Summary

Free-Space Optical (FSO) communications can provide flexible, easy-to-install, and license-free line-of-sight wireless communications links. The high speed and large bandwidth offered by light-wave communication technology make them very attractive as means to meet future demand for broadband Internet access and high-definition television broadcasting services. However, the bit rate of existing FSO links using near-IR lasers in the 780 - 850nm range is still limited to 1 - 2.5 GB/s. This is due to both the upper limit to laser power usually adopted to maintain eye-safe light levels and the lack of existing high-speed optical devices required to build multi-gigabit optical terminals.

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