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Development of a wireless high capacity broadband product, based on Free Space Optics, providing a new opportunity for low cost connection of houses to the fibre-based digital highway

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Low-cost solution for high-speed broadband in European homes

Barely anyone in Europe has premium-speed internet, and providing it via underground cabling is impractical. An EU initiative introduced an affordable alternative: super-fast optical connection between buildings.

Digital Economy

Only 2 % of Europeans have a 100 MB/s connection. Providing that to the remaining population would be cost prohibitive, mainly because of the trench-digging involved. Europe requires a solution not involving such trenches or the laying of cable. With this in mind, the EU-funded CONNECTTOO (Development of a wireless high capacity broadband product, based on free space optics, providing a new opportunity for low cost connection of houses to the fibre-based digital highway) project set out to develop a low-cost free space optical (FSO) device capable of high-rate data transmission, suitable for any short-range wireless application. Work began by matching user needs with available technologies. Project members determined and published the technical requirements, leading to product design specifications. Separate design documents were produced for each of three key components: optics, electronics and mechanics. The design of the optical solution for an error-free long-distance FSO system was successfully achieved and then enhanced to incorporate the chosen optical components into the system. Much of the work involved finding an existing product capable of being adapted to CONNECTTOO specifications. Adaptive spherical glass lenses with optimal performance suitable for the CONNECTTOO system were identified and tested. System implementation was identified and tested with laser transmitters and receivers. Dismounting of the optical fibre receptacle in small form-factor pluggable transceivers was successfully demonstrated, as was a CONNECTTOO system prototype based on FSO transceivers. The team tested the FSO device with error-free transmission capacity of 1 GB/s between buildings up to 100 m apart for overall performance. It exceeded requirements, achieving a range of 165 m. By introducing a new cost-effective solution for connecting to fibre-based broadband infrastructure, CONNECTTOO will open up affordable high-speed internet capability for much of Europe.


High-speed broadband, internet, optical connection, wireless, free space optics

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