The Future of Wi-Fi – Bending Lights

The Future of Wi-Fi – Bending Lights

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Faced with the ever-growing demand for data, current wireless technologies are being pushed to their limits, and cellular and Wi-Fi networks are nearing their capacity limits. Scientists are trying to solve the issue by using terahertz waves, which have 100 times the data-carrying potential of the microwaves that are currently being used. However, there is one major hurdle – terahertz signals are easily blocked by solid objects and require a direct line of sight between transmitter and receiver.

Researchers from Brown and Rice Universities recently presented a novel method for manipulating terahertz signals, paving the way for the future of efficient wireless communication. Professor Daniel Mittleman, senior author of the study, highlights the need for increased bandwidth, stating: “We want more data per second. Conventional frequency bands simply don’t offer the capacity we need.” While terahertz waves are a promising solution due to their exceptional bandwidth, they operate as directional beams (unlike Wi-Fi signals that can fill a room), meaning that any obstruction disrupts the connection.

To get around the issue, the researchers invented a light that bends, or self-accelerating beams. According to Interesting Engineering, these are specially configured electromagnetic waves that naturally curve as they travel. While previously studied at optical frequencies, the research explores their application in terahertz communication.

The team then engineered transmitters with intricate patterns that allow for precise control over the terahertz waves – their strength, intensity, and timing – a manipulation that enables the waves to work collaboratively, maintaining the signal even when partially blocked and ensuring an uninterrupted signal.

Experts claim that curved terahertz beams hold the promise of stronger future wireless networks, even in cluttered environments like offices and cities. Even though the technology is in its early stages and requires further research, this research represents a significant step towards a future powered by terahertz communication, paving the way for a new era of seamless and high-bandwidth wireless connectivity.