"Instead of investing in the cost of digging trenches in the ground and deploying ducts for the fibers, data is transmitted via the air—over a high-speed wireless link," said Swen Koenig, a researcher at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT) Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics, who will present the findings at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference, which takes place in Los Angeles from March 4-8. Koenig said that wireless technology is an "inexpensive, flexible, and easy-to-implement solution" for the last mile problem.
In their test setup, the researchers converted an optical signal to an electronic signal and encoded it to be transferred via a 220 GHz radio frequency carrier. The modulated carrier is connected to the antenna which "radiates" the signal and enables the receiving wireless gateway to capture the signal. First experiments succeeded over a distance of just 50 centimeters and later over a distance of 20 meters, about 66 feet. The researchers believe that the range will eventually reach about 20 km, or about 65,600 feet.