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Home ยป Free Space Optics [FSO] – Next Generation of Wireless Communication

Free Space Optics [FSO] – Next Generation of Wireless Communication

The development of existing communication technology allows humans to develop the next generation of wireless communication free space optics (FSO). The communication system is a communication technology that utilizes light propagation in a vacuum, space, and so on. Space technology is useful for sending telecommunications-specific data messages efficiently and reliably.

This technology is definitely very different from the communication technology that utilizes dense media, such as optical transmission lines or fiber optic cables. The development of this technology is actually more aimed at replacing physical connections which are considered impractical, especially when it comes to space. Using fiber optics or optical transmission lines in space will cost too much. Moreover, conditions in outer space are not as safe as on earth, because many space objects can damage physical connections.

FSO: Optical or Wireless?

Many people do not understand the term FSO so they do not know whether FSO is optical or wireless communication technology. In fact, FSO stands for Free Space Optics. Reporting from Gigabit Wireless, FSO has other names, such as Infrared Laser or Optical Wireless. Basically, this technology emits lasers into space to transmit information. At a glance, FSO works similarly to wireless keyboards, TV remote controls, and IRDA on cellular phones.

How It Works?

FSO technology available today can be divided into two based on the hardware. The first type of hardware can operate in the band around 800 nm and the second hardware will be able to operate at 1550 nm. The Cablefree website, explains that there are at least two arguments regarding the safety of lasers with these waves. One side supports the use of FSO with a band of 1550 nm and the other side opposes the use of lasers with a wavelength of 1550 nm.

Opponents expressed the opinion that waves as large as 1550 nm can have a negative impact on eye health. While the stronghold that supports FSO with a wave of 800 – 980 nm provides an argument that the wavelength is considered the best. Despite the contention between the two companies that issue FSO hardware, it’s important that we understand how it works.

According to the Hyperiontechs website, FSO utilizes lasers for data transmission through the air. The transmitter section has a special design in the form of a laser diode, optical amplifier, modulator, and beamforming optics. The data coming from the source will be modulated and the laser beam will be passed through the optical amplifier. An optical amplifier is useful for increasing optical intensity.

The result is a beam of light that is refocused and delivered to the receiver. The receiver contains an optical filter, lens, and photodiode. The light received by the photodiode is focused and recovered. The communication data has finished transmitting FSO and reaches the receiver.

Free Space Optics
Free Space Optics

Free Space Optics Subsystems

You already understand the mechanism of Free Space Optics and now is the time to learn about Free Space Optics Subsystems. These subsystems allow companies to produce FSOs with higher performance and lower costs. The performance gain that many companies want is to be able to reach further and also create circuits capable of delivering faster transmissions.

Metropolitan will require free space optics subsystems technology. An example of a new FSO is an FSO equipped with Subcarrier Multiplexing (SCM). SCM allows limiting wavelength resources so as to make spectrum more efficient.

Data Security

Any information that is transmitted also needs data security. The term that is often used to talk about this topic is secure free space opticals (S-FSO). To create an S-FSO, the communication system will usually be equipped with data fragmentation multipath transmission or shortened to DFMT. DFMT will be useful for fragmenting data and also distributing the data to atmospheric channels.

S-FSO utilizing DFMT prevents the information from being leaked to others. Research related to this has been conducted by Qingchao Huang and friends in 2018. Their research has been published in the Osapublishing section of Optics Express. Experiments on S-FSO are carried out by communicating between two buildings. The transmission distance in this study is 50 meters and has a speed of 1 Gb/s.

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Free Space Optics Challenges

The development of communication technology will continue so that FSO challenges will always exist. Based on the research of A. Mansour and friends (2017), the latest challenge of wireless communication is facing the era of the Internet of Things (IOT) which allows devices to communicate with other devices. The phenomenon of using smart cars, smart cities, and others. Even now there is a smart house that the owner can control via a smartphone.

There were more than 40 billion connections in 2020 and the number continues to increase by 2022. FSO development companies need to develop FSOs that are safer and also faster in conveying information. Even though the increasing number of users of this technology will make the spectrum band increasingly dense.

A lot of research that engineers and researchers do to find new technologies. The impact of the development of research results found digital broadcasting that got rid of analog tv technology. This also applies to the world of analog radio which almost disappeared from circulation because it was replaced by the presence of digital communication technology.

Further development of communication technology is now more engineers and researchers point to wireless communication and internet networks. We cannot rule out that in the future 6G and 7G will be present. This may not be, but it does need further research on whether it will harm the environment or not. Moreover, the issue of 5G itself is destroying the natural environment by killing many birds.

Satellite Networks
Satellite Networks

Advantages of Free Space Optics (FSO) Systems

As far as this explanation of FSO goes, you also need to understand the advantages of using FSO Systems. Some of the benefits in question can be:

1. Wireless

Building a cable-based communication technology is not easy, especially in dangerous fields. The cable will be easily damaged if placed in an area full of challenges such as space. Not surprisingly, wireless technology eventually developed in many ways, including communication technology. FSO uses water as its information transport medium. Even now many companies are operating automatically from these technologies because they no longer need to take care of special licenses.

2. Ease of Installation

Technological developments also allow humans to build communication technology more quickly and easily. Not only is it easy to build, but the technicians need very little time to carry out maintenance on the technology.

3. Free of EM Interference

Electromagnetic can be disturbed by many factors. The old communication technology will definitely experience interference if there is electromagnetic interference. However, FSO is immune to electromagnetic interference.


The FSO will continue to evolve and developmental directions are possible for more sophisticated communications. Moreover, FSO does not experience interference from electromagnetic so that it is more stable in transmitting the information.

Image Credits: Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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