Scientists are pushing Wi-Fi speeds much further using the TeraHertz band – which lives at 300GHz and above, as opposed to 2.4GHz and 5GHz as traditionally used by wireless routers – with a fresh breakthrough seeing speeds of 34Gbps realised, but with exciting progress on the range front, too.
Of course, the big problem is that using these sort of frequencies might enable far faster speeds, but at the cost of crippling the range.
What’s interesting about this latest breakthrough, which comes courtesy of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is that it might not be the fastest TeraHertz trial ever seen – other groups of researchers have hit 100Gbps or more, as ISP review (opens in new tab) reports – but the 34Gbps speed in the 500GHz band was achieved with a decent range in real world terms.
Naoto Oshimo, one of the scientists behind this latest test, said that “device performance is almost sufficient for short-distance wireless communication such as KIOSK downloads, which might be its first application”. And that generally speaking, they were looking at a final range of around 10 metres.
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In other words, a perfectly usable and serviceable range. Compare that to the aforementioned lab tests where 100Gbps plus speeds were reached, where the range tends to be measured in centimetres rather than metres.
Which obviously in the real world isn’t much use in practical terms, unless you enjoy the idea of having to sit right next to your router constantly.
The further good news is that this new 34Gbps transmission happened in ‘normal’ conditions (i.e. standard room temperature and so forth) and the tech can potentially be scaled to fit in a smartphone.
In short, this is not just about the speed achieved – although that’s still an impressive number, of course – but the fact that this is a clear step closer to ultrafast Wi-Fi becoming a reality.
That said, Oshimo believes that this technology will scale hugely in terms of the speed as well, and we could eventually be looking at topping the 1Tbps mark. Exciting Wi-Fi times indeed…
Oh, one final thing – if you’re confused by all the developments in Wi-Fi, then check out our handy explainer: Making sense of what's happening to Wi-Fi.