American and Israeli scientists have developed a new system of wirelessly transmitting data using twisted beams of light that could produce a theoretical throughput of 2.5 terabits of data per second. For perspective, that’s more than 8,000 times faster than Verizon’s fastest home Internet connection known as FiOS, which boasts 300Mbps. At this speed you can transfer seven full Blu-ray movies per second.
The new method of twisted signals uses orbital angular momentum (OAM) to put more data into a single stream. ExtremeTech explained it well:
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.
The researchers twisted together eight 300Gbps visible light data streams using OAM over a space of one meter to achieve speeds of 2.5 terabits per second. The development comes just one month after it was finally proved that OAM is actually possible. With OAM, an infinite number of conventional transmission protocols, such as WIFi and LTE, can be twisted together for faster speeds without the need for more spectrum.
The team will be working increasing the transmission distance next, which currently at only 1 meter is not so useful. The limit in distance for this new method is likely to be under 1km.