Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has built a new technique that makes light-based wireless communications possible in the near future. These efforts taken by the social networking giant can turn out to be a foundation layer to fast optical wireless networks that would be capable of offering internet service across remote locations, without utilizing radio or microwaves for wireless data transmission.
According to Facebook, its approach towards having the laser technology onboard will help the company to offer Internet service to over four billion people living in rural locations, in addition to drone technology.
“A large fraction of people don’t connect to the internet because the wireless communications infrastructure is not available where they live, mostly in very rural areas of the world,” said researcher Tobias Tiecke.
Such kind of light-based wireless communication is also known as free-space optical (FSO) communications that deliver a method to connect to areas where optical fibers and cell towers are failing to reach.
“We demonstrated the use of fluorescent optical fibers that absorb one color of light and emit another color,” Tiecke added.
With the help of such methods, it will be possible to obtain high data capacity and bandwidth during the wireless atmospheric communication. However, over a long-distance communication, pointing a tiny laser beam transporting the information at a small light detector seems to be challenging.
As opposed to traditional optics, researchers at Facebook made use of fluorescent materials in order to collect light to condense it further onto a small photodetector.
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“The optical fibers absorb light coming from any direction over a large area, and the emitted light travels inside the optical fiber, which funnels the light to a small, very fast photodetector,” Tiecke mentioned in his research paper.
The technique utilizes plastic optical fibers comprising organic dye molecules that ingest blue light and emit green light. This format substitutes the classical optics and motion platform commonly required to indicate the light to the collection area.
The speeds that are fast enough are conceivable in light of the fact that under two nanoseconds lapse between the blue light ingestion and the green light emission.