fiberless optics

Fiberless optics, a term that has been trademarked by Terabeam Networks, is a technology for transmitting large amounts of data on light waves sent through space rather than along an optical fiber cable, thus offering a surprising new solution to the so-called last-mile technology problem. Until now, optical fiber, cable TV, and various forms of wireless transmission have been the alternatives to consider in getting data back and forth between the backbone network and the home or business. TeraBeam Networks, a Seattle, Washington, company, expects to offer its "wireless optical fiber" system for mainly corporate use beginning in the summer of 2000 and to offer it in international markets over the next three years.

Terabeam describes the system as providing broadband services from a highly-directional point-to-multipoint beam using frequencies that "operate in a region of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum that is not subject to regulation by the FCC." The signal is encryption and said to be almost impossible to intercept. Multiple connections offer scalability and can be close together without interference concerns. The service will support the Internet Protocol (IP). As described by TeraBeam, fiberless optics seems like a laser beam (using a different part of the spectrum perhaps) that can be set up over a relatively long distance within a city-wide area. The system would involve fixed (not mobile) connections.

This was first published in April 2005

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