Free Space Optics

Topics: Optical fiber, Optical communication, Free-space optical communication Pages: 3 (925 words) Published: December 15, 2008
Free Space Optics: Light-Based Wireless Technology

With the increased need to obtain high-speed connectivity in business environments today, many companies have turned to technologies such as fiber optic communication to increase productivity. Fiber optic technology offer speeds far exceeding that of Ethernet and Gigabit, which make it perfect for WAN applications. However, fiber optic technology is very difficult to implement. The first obstacle is cost: In order to implement fiber optic cables, the company must place them underground. Digging costs and planning are one of the longest and most expensive aspects of fiber optic implementation (Optical Fiber). This does not take into account whether or not digging is even allowed from building to building. There are times where the company is not allowed to dig due to city ordinances, or perhaps they do not own the land that they plan to dig through. This is especially true in large cities. Thankfully, there is an alternative to fiber optics which functions on a similar technology, but through air. This is known as Free Space Optics, or FSO.

Free Space Optics, or FSO for short, is as the name implies: It is an optical technology that transmits data through space, not unlike 802.11 WLAN technologies, through invisible beams of light (Free-space optical communication). Because it uses light as its transmission medium, its speeds are similar to that of its solid counterpart fiber optics. However, FSO only needs an optical transceiver to receive and transmit from point to point, and is free of the restrictions that both fiber optics and 802.11 WLAN technologies.

There are many benefits from opting to implement FSO instead of fiber optics or 802.11. One of these benefits is cost. As mentioned earlier, the cost of implementing fiber optics is one of the main reasons why using fiber optics is so restrictive. The cost of digging and laying down cabling, even if it is approved, make fiber optics a...
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