Cables are sometimes a nightmare, and running a bunch of them through an office building even more so. This must be the case with the developers of the next concept that employs laser beams to get rid of the clutter.
Radio waves are still great for connecting computers located in small to medium areas, but it doesn’t hurt to look for alternatives, from time to time. RIT Technologies suggests that beams of light could be used for transmitting data at high speed over small distances. Their current prototype is able to distribute gigabit Internet to computers located at less than 18 feet away.
The laser beams are generated by an innovative networking hub much like the one illustrated in the above picture. At the basis of Beamcaster there is the same concept on which optic fiber functions. Information is transmitted using light, but in this scenario, the cables are eliminated.
To ensure that the data is transmitted correctly, the networking hub needs to be placed on a ceiling. In addition, the receivers must have direct line-of-sight with the networking hub. This is certainly one of the things that makes Beamcaster worse than Wi-Fi routers. The distance would be another downside, and unfortunately, it is not the last one. Beamcaster was developed with small offices in mind, as the networking hub supports only up to eight receivers. The only thing that would make people consider this technology even for a second would be the speed of such a connection.
RIT Technologies will sell Beamcaster units starting at $7,000 for the base model. The networking hubs and the receivers will be available in a few months, in case anyone is eager to buy them. The company also mentioned that its target audience is represented by IT departments. I, for one, would like to see which companies are able to invest so much money in a device that does not deliver.
The keyword in this story is laser, but even so, the price is very steep. If this technology ever takes off, I am sure that the price of the equipment will go down, but until then we’ll have to rely on good ol’ optical fiber and Wi-Fi. Not only the price is the problem here, but also the dramatic limitations of this technology, compared to the existing ones.