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One of the greatest achievements of the digital age is our rapidly changing communication technology. 

One type of communication, however, has been around since the 1880s without a moment in the limelight. That technology is called free space optics.

Alexander Graham Bell invented this type of communication with the photophone. A photophone is an interesting device that used light to send voice communications.  

Free space optics has changed a lot since then. Now, it is poised to take its place on the world stage. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the technology.

What Is Free Space Optics Technology

This technology transmits communications through space instead of through a cable or line. It uses light transmitters and receptors to send messages across large distances. 

While it may seem space-age, you are probably pretty familiar with this technology. It works using the same mechanism that lets your remote control communicate with your television. 

When you push a button, your remote emits a signal through a small light. Your television receives the signal and performs the function you asked for. Simple, right?

How It Works

To work, transmitters emit light signals, either through an infrared laser or LEDs.

Each transmitter is capable of sending and receiving messages. As long as they are placed within line of sight of each other, they can communicate. 

That means that each transmitter must be in direct view of the other one. Obstructions, like trees, buildings or other objects, will severe the connection and disrupt communication. 

Information travels fast with this technology. It’s capable of moving up to 2.5 Gb/s. These capabilities will likely get better as more telecoms companies work out the kinks with this tech. 

When It Is Useful

Free space optics can be a helpful solution in areas that don’t have existing internet infrastructure. If you’re trying to bring connectivity to a facility in a remote location and you can’t extend cable or telephone services, this might be the solution you need. 

Light-based communication can work across distances of almost 2 miles, although atmospheric conditions can affect that distance. Information won’t travel as far during foggy weather, for example. 

This also happens to be a highly secure way of transmitting information. The light beam is invisible to the naked eye and difficult to locate, even with a spectrum analyzer. Data interception is nearly impossible. That makes this a good option if you need to send sensitive messages between nearby locations.  

One potential application of this tech is in space. While several different organizations are developing this technology, this type of communication could revolutionize the way orbiting space stations can communicate with each other and with their cohorts here on Earth.  

Contact a Professional Today About Free Space Optics Technology

At BluTec Systems, we specialize in point to point internet service and wireless technology. We can take a look at your business’s current set up make recommendations for how to improve your communications. 

Visit our site today to get a quick quote for your next project.

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