Sony Computer Science Laboratories (CSL) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined hands to conduct an experiment transferring a complete data file in a "simulated low-quality and error-prone communications environment" as part of JAXA's Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) program.
This collaboration aims to form an optical internet service between low orbit satellites and unmanned aircraft for stratospheric telecommunications. Being able to transfer data in a strict environment is essential for future stratospheric and low-Earth orbit optical communications. And, with this experiment, Sony CSL and JAXA have set up the technical foundations for the commercialization of the technology.
To demonstrate complete data file transfer in an error-prone environment, an experimental environment with the bit error rate of free-space optical communication developed on a Gigabit Ethernet line was imitated in a way that communications via general Internet communication were impossible because of low quality. In this environment, the data file was transferred, "complete and uncorrupted," at a speed of 446 Mbps. This outcome reflected the prospect of "high-quality and high-speed communications similar to a terrestrial internet service, albeit free-space optical communication."
Discussing the news, Sony CSL said:
With this successful demonstration, a solution is in sight to the high speed, high bandwidth, and low energy consumption requirements of point-to-point optical internet service in the stratosphere or low-Earth orbit. We expect this to lead to future business development opportunities for communication services, such as small optical communication terminals installed on low-Earth orbit satellite constellations, or unmanned aircraft for stratospheric telecommunications.
The communication was carried out by employing a signal processing method that integrates Sony CSL's Forward Error Correction (FEC), which is based on the Sony Group laser reading technology that has been enhanced through the production of optical technologies including Blu-ray, and JAXA's Delay/Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN).