June 14, 2024
While bending light without the power of a black hole isn’t new research, what’s significant about this study is it could make 6G networks a practical reality.

Scientists could make blazing-fast 6G using curving light rays

Researchers have discovered a way to curve data-carrying terahertz signals around obstacles, paving the way for ultrafast 6G

The future of cellular data transfer could lie in “curving” light beams midair to deliver 6G wireless networks with blazing-fast speeds — bypassing the need for line of sight between transmitter and receivers.

In a new study published March 30 in the journal , researchers explained how they developed a transmitter that can dynamically adjust the waves needed to support future 6G signals.

The most advanced cellular communications standard is 5G. Expected to be thousands of times faster, 6G will begin rolling out in 2030, according to the trade body GSMA. Unlike 5G, which mostly operates in bands under 6 gigahertz (GHz) in the electromagnetic spectrum, 6G is expected to operate in sub-terahertz (THz) between 100 GHz and 300 GHz, and THz bands — just below infrared. The closer this radiation is to visible light, the more prone the signals are to be blocked by physical objects. A major challenge with high-frequency 5G and future 6G is that signals need a direct line of sight between a transmitter and receiver.

But in the experiments, the scientists showed that you can effectively “curve” high-frequency signals around obstacles such as buildings.

“This is the world’s first curved data link, a critical milestone in realizing the 6G vision of high data rate and high reliability,” said Edward Knightly, co-author of the study and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, in a statement.

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