Feeds

Free space optics gets shiny new snake-oil paint job

Money-sharks with frikkin' lasers for this week's 'tech' media rating system

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A technology more than 15 years old is getting a brand-new publicity brush-up because it's been discovered by the high-frequency trading community.

Free space optics is older than The Register, even: it's been around so long that in the mid-1990s, it was even exciting in Australia, where a company called Davnet was founded to sell telecommunications links in CBDs using FSO systems. The company later exploded in a shower of sparks in the “tech wreck”.

In the meantime, bandwidth became cheap and telecommunications markets became liberalised, and while FSO didn't fade away entirely, it mostly fell out of the public eye.

Until the high-frequency traders met the FSO vendors, and created a publicity marriage made in heaven completely irresistible to both the business press and the tech press. It's almost as good as Flappy Birds for testing your tech media – so why not?

A. Does the author know that fibre-optics uses lasers?

Here's an except from a real article: “an ultra-high-speed laser network ... will be just a few nanoseconds faster than the current microwave and fibre-optic links”. Clearly, the workings of fibre-optics are a mystery to the writer.

B. Does the author understand that light and radio are both electro-magnetic waves?

A writer who thinks light in air moves faster than radio waves, is out of their depth.

C. Can the author plug the speed of light into a spreadsheet?

The speed of light in an optical fibre is only about 2/3 the speed of light through the air. At the physical layer, the direct link isn't a few nanoseconds quicker than fibre over, say, 10km – it's about 17 microseconds quicker.

D. Is it about the propagation delay?

If the author hasn't noticed that a direct link eliminates at least a couple of router hops, they don't understand networks.

So yeah: this old technology probably does warrant a little bit of attention. Hopefully, by people with a spoonful of clue. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.