Collin Arocho
6 October 2020

TNO and free-space optics (FSO) expert Aircision have entered into a consortium agreement aimed at advancing FSO technology for use in 5G broadband connectivity. To do so, however, more robust FSO links will need to be developed to offer increased data rates and a wider reach. Together, TNO and Aircision will combine expertise to explore the technology and apply it to make 5G broadband networks more accessible.

Ofelia laser communication demonstrator. Credit: TNO

The Backcat (Backhaul Communication Active Terminal) project builds on the newly developed structured laser beam out of Cern to attain performance gains over traditional Gaussian beams. The duo will combine TNO’s high-throughput FSO technology with Aircision’s structured beamforming and will test and demonstrate a 10 Gb/s FSO link over the distance of 2.5 km between the optical communication lab in the TNO tower and the Luchtwachttoren in Scheveningen. Collaborators hope to show that a new generation of communication terminals can enable future 5G networks that are more accessible, with higher bandwidth and more robust connectivity.