NASA moves from Radio to Laser Light for data transmission.
We have often heard the argument that FTTH is really not needed now that G3 and G4 wireless technology is available. I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that any radio (wireless) data transmission system will NEVER HAVE the bandwidth of a fibre network. The reason is simple. The amount of information you can modulate onto a given carrier frequency has finite limitations. The higher the carrier frequency, the more modulation you can impress on the carrier. With fibre, the carrier is of course light, not a radio wave. The frequency (or wavelength) of light is almost unimaginably higher than the highest frequency radio carriers available for use.
Today I picked up this very interesting article “NASA to demonstrate Laser beam communications system“. Although it describes communications in space, the principle remains the same. NASA has just run out of bandwidth using wireless and will now adopt light as the communications carrier.
Communications in Outback Australia
I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to many countries during my life, but I still continue to enjoy exploring the great Australian outback in my trusty Jeep Cherokee.
Not so long ago I drove from my home on the Gold Coast out to the cotton country in West Queensland, down to Bourke, then Broken Hill, and across to the East coast following the Murray River.
There are smallish towns along the way that always have an interesting history. One also always finds an amazing sense of humour amongst the locals.
I found this makeshift telephone booth in the middle of a quite up-market caravan park somewhere way out in Western New South Wales.
I can’t help feeling that the shack may have been a toilet in a past life, something we call a “dunnny” in Australian argot.
But now it hosts a coin-in-the-slot Telstra telephone.
I receive regular news from the three main FTTH Councils: Asia-Pacific, USA and Europe.
Right now, I must say that from my point of view the European Council provides the most interesting and focussed information.
Their most recent newsletter contained a very interesting paper entitled “Fibre-to-the TV – Taking broadcasting to the next level“.
FTTH is an excellent way of distributing television programming, and there are currently two technologies commonly used to deliver TV channels over fibre.
IPTV or Internet Protocol Television takes a television program or channel and converts the audio/video components into IP packets which are then transmitted over the fibre data link. These packets are interspersed with all the other data traffic: browsing, data downloads and uploads, all the usual internet stuff. But the TV signals require quite large amounts of bandwidth, particularly as we move into HD or high definition images. Thus IPTV can cause bottlenecks on the data link. The second technology, called RF Overlay, can allow broadcasting of hundreds of TV channels without affecting the data throughput. This is done by adding a third lambda or light wavelength to the two existing ones. This third light “colour” is only used for transmitting TV channels and consequently does not “hog” the data channels.
If a country has an established collection of TV channels (including terrestrial free-to-air and satellite pay TV) it is extremely simple to distribute these over the third wavelength without any modification or processing. Conversion to IP however does require equipment and cost that has to be considered.
For those interested, further information is available on my website: www.onefibre.com.
Another snappy FTTH promotion clip
Again thanks to FTTH Council Europe, a really neat promo clip for FTTH is available in several languages.