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Vortex wireless: Terabytes of Wi-Fi is on its way

Wi-Fi networking has gotten to be remarkably fast. But even as 802.11n, with up to 600 Megabits per second (Mbps) speeds has become commonplace, and 802-11ac, with its gigabit speeds is finally showing up, we’ve seen nothing like the speeds that the still experimental twisted, vortex beams using orbital angular momentum (OAM) is going to deliver. In the lab, OAM technologies is already delivering a mind-bending 2.5 Terabits per second (Tbps).

Alan Willner and fellow researchers from the University of Southern California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Tel Aviv University, have just announced in a Nature article, Terabit free-space data transmission employing orbital angular momentum multiplexing that they can deliver 2.56Tbps speeds with by twisting beams of light together, multiplexing them, and then encoding data using OAM and current Wi-Fi technologies, such as spin angular momentum (SAM), which we’re already using in Wi-Fi and 4G.

How fast is that? 2.56Tbps is about the same as 320 Gigabytes (not bits, bytes) of data a second. Or, to put in more homey terms, as 25GBs for a typical single layer Blu-Ray HDTV movie, an OAM wireless connection could send almost 13 HDTV movies a second to your television.

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