A project in Germany has set a new world record for wireless data transmission of 6 Gigabits per second, or the equivalent of the entire contents of a conventional DVD in under 10 seconds. Not only is that better than the current state of the art tech by a full order of magnitude, but it was also achieved over a distance of 37 kilometers (23 miles).

The ACCESS (Advanced E Band Satellite Link Studies) project is a collaborative effort involving a handful of institutions that set the new record using stations in Cologne, Germany, and in the town of Wachtberg, 36.7 km away. The record was set using the so-called "E band" radio frequency at 71-76 GHz that is set aside for terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, which has a frequency range of millimeter waves which allows for huge data rates to be accomplished.

In order to transmit the high bandwidth signal over many miles, the project team upped its power by using efficient transmitters and receivers based around technology called fully monolithically integrated millimeter wave cir­cuits (MMICs). These circuits use transistor technology from Fraunhofer IAF, which has brought us other record-setting super broadband wireless systems in recent years.

The signal from the transmitter is amplified to as much as 1 watt using amps based around the compound semiconductor gallium-nitride. The receivers then have low-noise amplifiers with transistors using indium-gallium-arsenide-semiconductor layers that can better detect weak signals traveling long distances.

The project team sees the technology as a viable alternative to optical fiber for broadband, especially when it comes to relaying data and fast internet connections from satellites to more rural locations. Using the technology demonstrated, the team claims that 250 internet connections of 24 Mbits/s each could be supplied to far-flung locales.

The record is still a ways off from the optical data transfer record of 1.125 terabits per second, however.

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