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Technology & Innovation

Researchers Test Infinite-Capacity Wireless Connection

Researchers at NASA and Tel Aviv University have twisted data streams around one another to wirelessly transmit 2.5 terabits of information per second, creating a network with nearly infinite capacity.

What’s the Latest Development?

A team of American and Israeli researchers have successfully transmitted 2.5 terabits of data per second over a wireless network, twisting data streams into a vortex-like pattern to achieve a near-infinite capacity. “These twisted signals use orbital angular momentum (OAM) to cram much more data into a single stream. In current state-of-the-art transmission protocols (WiFi, LTE, COFDM), we only modulate the spin angular momentum (SAM) of radio waves, not the OAM. If you picture the Earth, SAM is our planet spinning on its axis, while OAM is our movement around the Sun. Basically, the breakthrough here is that researchers have created a wireless network protocol that uses both OAM and SAM.”

What’s the Big Idea?

By twisting together different OAM streams, researchers believe they can create an infinite number of transmissions protocols without using more of the bandwidth spectrum. “For fiber networks, where we still have a lot of spare capacity, this isn’t all that exciting — but for wireless networks, where we’ve virtually run out of useful spectrum, twisted radio waves could provide an instant, future-proof solution.” The researchers’ next task is to increase the distance over which the 2.5 terabits per second, which is equivalent to 320 gigabytes per second or around seven full Blu-ray movies per second, can be transmitted. 

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