Optical technology has been considered as an alternative that can significantly improve the performance of free-space communication systems (such as radio-based communication) due to its advanced state. Indeed, national laboratories and industry have focused their efforts towards the development and commercialization of free-space optical (FSO) systems.
Among the advantages offered by FSO systems are: a higher operating frequency than radio systems, providing an increment in the channel capacity or data rate.(The data rates provided by FSO communication can range between 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps). Another advantage is that FSO communication operates at smaller wavelengths than radio communication, resulting in a beam with lower divergence, and hence providing higher precision and intensity for a given transmitted power.
FSO systems are composed of three main elements: emitter (laser), a receiver (detector), and an unobstructed line of sight between the two (communication channel) through which optical signals are sent. FSO communication systems can be used in scenarios such as satellite communication, military applications, last mile access, intra-campus communication, disaster recovery, etc.
FSO communication, however, also faces technical challenges. Discover in this white paper advantages of single photon detectors used in free space communication.