Will Lasers Be the Solution to Our Broadband Concerns?
One of our broadband concerns is that its capacity is nearly at full capacity. The world is processing more and more data all the time and more activity than ever is taking place on the Internet. Cloud computing has introduced a world where data is no longer stored locally, but it still needs to be accessed instantly at any given time. According to one group of experts, the Internet will need to be rationed within the decade if things continue their present course. Plus, half a billion people are poised to access the Internet for the first time over the next couple of years.
The Race for an Answer
Every tech company is searching for the ultimate answer. Take Google’s approach with Project Loon. Using balloons that float about twice as high as aircraft fly, Google is trying to stretch coverage to reach even the remotest areas. On the other hand, Microsoft is taking the underwater approach by placing cables under the sea to shore up their cloud-based systems.
How Lasers May Provide the Solution
Researchers are looking into using lasers, particularly infrared lasers, to increase bandwidth and speed by as much as 200%. The reason they feel the increase will be so dramatic is the fact that almost nothing uses the terahertz frequency.
Besides just university researchers, private companies are doing their own research. One tech periodical noted that three of the nation’s largest Internet service providers are experimenting with new technologies that promise ultra-high bandwidth.
The technology has already been field tested in a remote part of Nigeria to see if spotty connectivity could be bolstered using the new tech. Testing also has occurred in Mexico. Both ventures were successful and showed promise that lasers will soon be providing better bandwidth and download speeds for all.
In fact, one researcher, who started studying lasers over 20 years ago, postulated that terahertz frequencies could provide 20 times faster communication speeds than gigahertz technology. If this works, lasers would clearly answer some of our broadband concerns.