Fiber optics have a new competitor, if a group of Italian scientists can get their claim of a new world record for wireless data transmission confirmed by the people who confirm such things. The scientists, based in Pisa, claim that during an uninterrupted 12-hour experiment, they achieved throughput speeds above 1.2 Terabits per second. They say the speeds beat the previous wireless data transmission speed record of 160 gigabits per second, set by some speedy Koreans. The Italians also claimed these speeds were previously attainable only with fiber optics. That's fitting considering both methods involve communicating with light. Don't get too excited though, as there are major issues keeping this experiment from becoming widespread. At least, on Earth.
Via the original article, the Harvard Broadband Communication Laboratory provides this explanation of Free-Space Optical Communications and gives some insight as to why this method doesn't work very well unless used under optimal
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