BEAMING objects across space is still only a science fiction fantasy, but beaming data across space is already a reality here in New Zealand.
This is enabled by free-space optics - a simple concept: laser beams transmit data, including voice and video streams, between two opposite points to link networks distri-buted across different sites.
This allows an organisation to expand its network to nearby sites without laying down cables and reduces installation and lease line costs, says Darryl Rose, who is bringing this technology to New Zealand with his company Laser2Laser.co.nz, a spin-off from his UK-based firm Laserbandwidth.com.
This laser link, says Rose, is less expensive and easier to set up than laying a cable between two points, and is not affected by security and interference concerns like wireless networks.
It is also fast - optical free-space data transmission can deliver the same bandwidth and speed of fixed optical fibre, says Rose, whose equipment can transmit up to 1GB a second across 5km.
The company will follow a hybrid sales model dealing directly with end-users and through a reseller channel, as the potential market for the technology is too small to only use one of these approaches, Rose says.
“But our dealers will always come first, even when we cross swords on a new deal,” he says.
Rose says the technology would typically be an option where an organisation is going through some form of change.
“Change is the catalyst for our business. A company may be expanding and has taken additional office space nearby or built a new building on the same site. Instead of digging a trench for a cable, our product can be set up in a couple of days,” he says.
The technology has one main drawback, however. It can only be deployed where there is a direct line of sight between the two points that need to be connected, but this can be overcome where a triangulation point in sight of both points can be set up.