The future of high-speed broadband is in your iPhone X

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VCSEL
The laser in the iPhone X's Face ID could one day transform the speed of broadband.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

That nifty little laser in the iPhone X that scans your face to create a custom animated emoji could also connect cities with ultra high-speed broadband.

That’s what a team of researchers in Europe have discovered by combining the laser with silicon photonics to create long-wavelength, high-capacity communications. If implemented, it could make data logjams a thing of the past.

At the heart of the iPhone X’s facial recognition software is a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, an infrared beam that is energy-efficient and produced by low-cost components.

The special project, funded by Politecnico di Milano, was reported today by the Irish technology news site, Silicon Republic.

So confident in their work, the researchers say VCSEL components could achieve transmission rates of up to 112GTBPS, equal to sending 28,000 HD movies in one second.

“VCSELs are a bit of a buzzword at the moment,” project coordinator Pierpaolo Boffi told Silicon Republic. “They have the advantages of low-driving current, high light power conversion efficiency, and high directivity. This makes them an ideal choice for transmitting huge amounts o data in a low-cost, energy efficient way.”

Boffi told the website his team is working on a network architecture that would offer a “10-fold reduction in power consumption…achieved by exploiting the full wavelength spectrum and the space dimension in a multi-core fiber.”

VCSEL technology is currently used for short distance connections between data communications centers. Boffi’s team must now figure out to incorporate the tech on a massive scale.

“We need a lighter and more flexible internet with low-energy consumption,” he said. “Otherwise, the future of internet costs will be unsustainable.”

Source: Silicon Republic