First infra-red data link transmission in the UK
3rd August 1972
Infra-red Data Link goes into Operation
The first infra-red data transmission link in the UK, and possibly Europe, is now in operation between Cambridge University Engineering Department in Trumpington Street, and the Computer Laboratory in Corn Exchange Street. The link covers half a mile as the crow flies over the Cambridge rooftops and is based on Optran terminals which were supplied and installed by K&N Electronics Ltd, of Maidenhead, Berks, UK agents for the makers, Computer Transmission Corp, of Los Angeles, California. Using an infra-red beam the system is being used to transmit data between the Engineering Department’s IBM 1130 computer and the Laboratory’s IBM 370/165 through a PDP-11/20 acting as a front-end processor. Optran acts as a high speed data link which at first will be operating at 4.8 kilobauds. It is planned to increase this to 9.6 kilobauds in the near future. The Optran range has the capability of data speeds up to one megabaud, and has an accuracy of one part in 10,000 million.
Source: Computer Weekly 3rd August 1972