Deep Sea Internet Cables Might Be Replaced by Satellites

Currently, the world is dependent on various cables that are placed along the ocean floor in order to obtain internet access. This is a costly and risky endeavor, since these cables require a lot of maintenance and they are prone to getting damaged at frequent intervals. Just one transatlantic cable can cost upwards of hundreds of millions dollars, but researchers just came up with a solution that would make these cables less necessary than might have been the case otherwise.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that optical data communications might give rise to a satellite based internet. Scientists who are working at ETH Zurich revealed that terabytes of information could be transmitted through the air with these lasers, and satellites that are not too far from the Earth’s surface can be used as an internet backbone so to speak.

In the test, the scientists successfully transmitted data around 33 miles away, sending the packets from the Swiss capital of Bern to their High Altitude Research Station. This station is thousands of miles above sea level, and there was considerable air turbulence to contend with, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, the test was a resounding success.

While satellite internet is nothing new, with Elon Musk’s Starlink standing out as a prime example, it currently only uses microwave transmissions which are exceedingly slow. As for laser optical systems, they have wavelengths that are thousands of times smaller than that of microwaves.

This is quite useful because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing more data to be transferred in the same amount of time. Researchers accounted for the turbulence by transferring multiple states, thereby making it so that each symbol numerous bits instead of just one.

Nearly a hundred adjustable mirrors were also involved to correct the data’s path. This clearly shows that laser optical systems could be the future of the internet, eliminating the need for the hundreds of deep sea cables out there.

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