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Last modified: Monday, May 21, 2001 

Acronym for free space optics. Free space optics technology, also referred to as "open-air photonics" or "optical wireless" or "infrared broadband," transmits data from point to point and multipoint using low-powered infrared lasers. Unlike traditional copper wires or fiber-optic technology, which transmits data by light across glass, FSO uses laser technology to send optical signals through the air using lenses and mirrors to focus and redirect the beams and send data from one chip to another. And unlike radio frequencies, FSO technology does not require a spectrum license.

An FSO system uses optical amplifiers and a telescope that sends multiple wavelengths of light in direct line of sight through the atmosphere to another telescope waiting to receive the information. The receiving telescope is connected to a highly sensitive receiver through an optical fiber and a DWDM demultiplexer. Since the system is bidirectional, each telescope can simultaneously send and receive information. The only weather condition that affects an FSO transmission is fog. Fog can corrupt the direct line of sight between the two telescopes because the moisture particles in the air are so small and dense that they act as millions of tiny prisms dissipating the band of light sent from the laser.

Free space optics provides a higher bandwidth to the end user at a faster speed. The photons transmitted by the laser are much quicker than electrons moving along a wire and they can pass straight through each other, which charge-bearing electrons cannot do. Because of this, large amounts of data, such as IP -based voice and video, can be transmitted through a narrow corridor of space.

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Advanced Alliance Group: Free Space Optics - Offers equipment, consulting, and services in computer networking and telephony, including free space optics. Designs and deploys business solutions.

Alpha Net Communications: Free Space Optics (FSO) - Provides design and installation in free space optics as Broadband Wireless "Last Mile" Integrators. Offers 100 Mbps through 1.25 Gig E.

For pages about FSO . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Free-Space Photonics:Lighting the Way to the Future 
There’s a communications revolution in progress and service providers are reaping the rewards. Read about it in this article from Telecommunications.Online.

FSO Technology Competes in Carrier Market 
Researchers predict that the optical wireless transport market is poised for explosive growth. 
The processing power of silicon chips and the unmatched speed of photons make an awesome combination.

Telecommunications and PWBs 
Free space optics is being pursued aggressively with the advantage of not requiring real estate or fiber cable routing.

Tripping the Light Fantastic 
Lasers may provide an economical, high-capacity and fiberless connection that can help broadband bridge that crucial last mile.

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