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German researchers set new world record in wireless data transmission

16 May 2013

Researchers have achieved wireless transmission of 40Gbit/s at 240GHz over a distance of one kilometre, improving prospects for rural broadband users.

A distance of over one kilometre has already been covered by using a long range demonstrator between two skyscrapers in Karlsruhe (photo: Ulrich Lewark/Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology have achieved a wireless transmission of 40Gbit/s at 240GHz over a distance of one kilometre, setting a new world record and tying in seamlessly with the capacity of optical fibre transmission.

In the future, such radio links might be able to close gaps in the provision of broadband internet by supplementing the network in rural areas and places that are difficult to access.

Broadband radio links can help to overcome restrictions imposed by the high cost of fibre installation, facilitating the expansion of network infrastructures. In rural areas they can be a cost-effective and flexible alternative to 'fibre-to-the-home'.

The wireless data transmission achieved - up to 40Gbit/s - equals the transmission of a complete DVD in under a second or 2,400 DSL16000 internet connections.

Distances of over one kilometre have already been covered by using a long range demonstrator, which the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology set up between two skyscrapers as part of 'Project Millilink'.

“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”, says Professor Ingmar Kallfass, who coordinated the project at Fraunhofer IAF. Kallfass is now with the University of Stuttgart, where he continues to lead the project.

Hitherto, radio links were unable to directly transmit data at rates that are possible over a fibre link. The new world record achieved by the German researchers suggests that this might well change in the future.

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