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Up to 40 Gbps: China tested optical satellite communication technology in space

    New technology of “space optical switching” is presented by Chinese scientists.

    A group of Chinese scientists have announced the creation of a communications device that promises to revolutionize communications. This latest development allows light signals to be transmitted without the need to convert them into electrical impulses, opening up the prospect of faster and more efficient communications. The device operates based on “space optical switching” technology, writes the South China Morning Post.

    Today, traditional communication switching devices convert light signals into electrical signals during data transmission. This method is undoubtedly effective, but it also has some limitations. New optical technology eliminates limitations, which will help maximize the speed and capacity of data exchange systems, as well as reduce the cost of building specialized communication facilities.

    Nowadays, communication between satellites and the Earth is based on the use of radio signals. However, the data transfer rate remains relatively low due to the limited range of frequencies used. In this context, optical technologies come to the rescue. The throughput capabilities of lasers and other optical means can reach several hundred gigahertz, which makes them more promising for interplanetary communications.

    Researchers at the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spent more than nine years developing optical communication devices. According to the published article, the new technology demonstrates an impressive data transfer speed of 40 gigabits per second. This is especially significant for interplanetary communications, where optical switching appears to be a more efficient, fast, compact and inexpensive alternative to radio communications.