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P-link: Could the future of copper be plastic?

​The P-link peripheral-to-peripheral high-speed data transfer system is cheap, robust, efficient, and low-power, making it the perfect candidate to replace copper or fiber optic cable in some applications.

Published on 21 October 2019

​First came the G-link wireless low-power connection—and now there's the P-link "plastic link" connection! For the first time ever, researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to guide radio waves through a flexible plastic tube, the P-link. The system developed by researchers at Leti, a CEA Tech institute, can transfer information over distances up to ten meters at a maximum speed of 15 Gbits/s. And, with an average data transmission speed of 6 Gbits/s over a little more than two meters, the system is powerful enough to transfer 4K video directly, eliminating the data compression and decompression that can negatively affect image quality.

P-link offers significant advantages over competing technologies (copper and fiber optic cable): It takes just a tenth of the energy required to transmit a signal, is less sensitive to vibration and electromagnetic waves, and, because the system uses millimeter waves rather than nanometer waves (like optical fiber), it does not need to be heat spliced or welded—it can be connected by hand with a piece of tape. Finally, P-link is much lighter in weight than copper, which could make it a great solution for aeronautics applications, for example

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