A new terahertz (THz) transmitter could boost the strength of satellite-powered internet, providing speeds that exceed 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) on a single channel. The development, announced via press release on Monday, came out of a partnership among Hiroshima University, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and Panasonic.
The new transmitter utilizes the frequency range of 290-315 GHz to transfer data. According to the press release, the transmitter officially achieved a transfer speed of 105 Gbps, which is at least 10 times faster than next-generation 5G networks.
Last year, the group was working with quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to transfer data in the 300 GHz band, but they only achieved six times higher speeds at that point with the THz transmitter, the release said. With the new technology, they were able to transfer a DVD full of content in "a fraction of a second," the release said.
The frequency band used in the tests isn't currently allocated, but it falls within the range that is set to be discussed at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019, the release said. And, that could open up some interesting possibilities for the future.
"We usually talk about wireless data rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second. But we are now approaching terabits per second using a plain simple single communication channel," Hiroshima University professor Minoru Fujishima said in the press release. "Fiber optics realized ultrahigh-speed wired links, and wireless links have been left far behind. Terahertz could offer ultrahigh-speed links to satellites as well, which can only be wireless."
If the new transmitter was used as part of the hardware powering satellite-provided wireless internet, it could not only boost speeds on the ground, but also for airplanes in flight, the release said. If the transmitter technology was adopted by companies like SpaceX, which is planning to launch some 4,000 satellites to provide home broadband, it could see the possibility of not only worldwide internet access, but global access with unprecedented speeds.
The THz wireless technology could also provide the high data rate of fiber optics, with the low latency offered by microwave lengths, Fujishima said in the release.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- A new terahertz (THz) transmitter could provide wireless internet speeds that are more than 10 times faster than 5G mobile networks.
- The transmitter could be used to power satellites, like the ones planned by SpaceX, to provide high-speed connections around the world.
- The transmitter could also empower faster wireless speeds in planes as well.
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- Fiber broadband: Is it a waste with 5G and Elon Musk's satellites on the horizon? (ZDNet)
- AT&T raises stakes on 5G, targets two cities for AirGig trials (TechRepublic)
- Superfast broadband everywhere? Terahertz breakthrough could make satellite as fast as fiber (ZDNet)
- Verizon buys XO for $1.8B to boost its 5G wireless gigabit plans (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.