Time to move to THz
Satellite transmission rates are increasing rapidly and are likely to reach tens of Gbit/s towards 2020. Moving beyond 300GHz into THz bands would certainly be a game changer and open up numerous applications in Earth observation and communications. However, as we move higher in frequency, the wavelength of the transmitted signal reduces to the order of the atmospheric drops. This can result in signal attenuation due to the wavelength being absorbed or scattered.
The communications network is complex and an end-to-end solution is required, from the ground to satellites and back to Earth. The challenges facing devices in space are different to those on Earth, due to extreme temperature cycles and radiation effects. Future-proofing any solution is key and will require collaboration throughout the supply chain, as replacing components in space is not an accessible option.