New Secure Communication System Inspired by the Stars

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In order to improve communication security and effectiveness, a new collaboration has been formed between Edith Cowan University (ECU), observation data provider QL Space, and the University of South Wales to focus on free space options (FSO).

This collaboration will see the construction of a satellite ground station in Perth to empower FSO, which will eventually be one of numerous stations in the worldwide network built in collaboration with the University of South Wales.

According to Interesting Engineering, FSO (commonly referred to as optical wireless communication or laser communication) uses light to send data across the air without using physical cables or fiber optics. FSO systems transfer modulated data as optical signals using lasers or LEDs. In FSO, photons or light particles can be used to transmit data into orbit, where satellite technology could relay it to other parts of the globe.

Furthermore, FSO systems can provide high data transfer rates, which makes them suitable for applications that demand fast data transmission, like point-to-point links and backhaul connections.

ECU School of Science Senior Lecturer Dr. Shihao Yan explains: “When information is sent from point A to point B via FSO, an encoder, and a decoder are placed at each end so as to ensure the security and integrity of the information being transmitted and these measures can provide protection against hacking and signal jamming.”

“It can also transmit more data at once, and it’s more efficient, we can send, let’s say, an image, a longer distance but still use less energy to do so,” he added.

The technology provides various benefits over conventional radio wave transmission, including better data speeds and lower power usage, which fills a critical need in the communications sector.

Furthermore, there are a finite number of radio frequencies that can be used to send data, especially in the low Earth orbit, and they are becoming increasingly scarce. FSO is uniquely appealing due to the pressing need for an improved method of information transmission in space.

This technology also offers inherent security advantages over traditional approaches because the optical signal does not easily penetrate walls or structures, making it challenging for eavesdroppers to intercept data. Another major benefit of FSO technology is that it is considered environmentally friendly because it does not require the installation of physical cables, reducing the impact on the environment.