There's no shortage of demand for faster wireless, but today's fastest technologies--Wi-Fi, 3G cellular networks, and even the upcoming WiMax--max out at tens or hundreds of megabits per second. So far, no commercial wireless system can beat the raw speed of optical fiber, which can carry tens of gigabits per second.
One way to achieve faster speeds is to harness the millimeter-wavelength frequency of the wireless spectrum, although this usually requires expensive and very complex equipment. Now, engineers at Battelle, a research and development firm based in Columbus, OH, have come up with a simpler way to send data through the air with millimeter-wave technology. Earlier this year, in field tests of a prototype point-to-point system, the team was able to send a 10.6-gigabit-per-second signal between antennas 800 meters apart. And more recently, the researchers demonstrated a 20-gigabit-per-second signal in the lab.