Researchers from the Fraunhofer Instiute at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have set a new Wi-Fi speed record of 40GB per second - by creating new hardware and using higher radio frequencies.
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The Dawning of a New Day
Essentially these researchers are now able to transmit 10 high-definition feature films per second, over a 0.6 mile distance. TechEye reports that their technology could fill a 4TB drive in under 100 seconds (1 min 40 seconds) when running at full speed (well, in theory it could, but currently no SSD or HDD could hope to keep up with it).
This development is excellent news for any gamer or movie addict as entire episodes or games could be downloaded within seconds, as opposed to hours - once it becomes commercially available. The motivation behind the project is to help Germany catch up to its neighbours as it is currently behind in terms of fibre network adoption.
In fact, the research, which was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to the tune of €2 million, was conducted to find an alternative to fibre optic cable. It seems that the researchers, at least, believe that they’ve succeeded with project leader, Professor Ingmar Kallfass, reporting that; “We have managed to develop a radio link based on active electronic circuits, which enables similarly high data rates as in fiber-optic systems, therefore allowing seamless integration of the radio link”.
Why it Works
Mashable’s Jesse Emspak explains that what makes this high-speed Wi-Fi possible is a combination of ‘better hardware’ and the use of higher radio frequencies. The “better hardware” is what researchers are calling their transmitter and receiver chips which are quite compact; measuring 4 x 1.5mm2 . Kallfass and his team believe that the set of chips could be integrated into compact ICs.
The second component is the use of higher radio frequencies - 240 gigahertz in this instance. Most Wi-Fi networks operate at either 2.4 or 5GHz and higher frequencies can experience atmospheric interference. It would seem, however, that 240 GHz is not affected and, as such massive amounts of data can be sent over this wavelength. Emspak explains that; “The high frequencies are necessary for moving lots of data - the number of bits that can travel over the airwaves is inversely proportional to the wavelength. The shorter the wavelength, the more data that can go in a given time”.
TechWeek Europe reports that the technology has already been tested over a distance of one kilometer (linking two skyscrapers) and certainly seems to be quite robust when it comes to bad weather.
Apart from faster download speeds in central areas, another application for the tech could be use in rural areas where it is too difficult to lay down fibre optic cables; as these transmissions will be able to go much further than a current Wi-Fi router could manage. Should this prove to be the case it would mean a breakthrough for people working between buildings or in the countryside.
At present the technology has not been made available commercially but, once it is it looks set to change the way many people around the world use their computers. Just think of the possibilities; email hosting services could be accessed from more locations, videos could be downloaded in the blink of an eye and people in areas that were traditionally isolated could soon have internet access. It truly is the dawning of a new day.
Pippa Green is a London-based blogger with a passion for anything online. She’s looking into virtual desktops like Nasstar’s and their usefulness in remote locations.