Canon has found a way of using lasers to beam data up to half a kilometre. It demonstrated the long-range data transfer systems at the Network Telecom Show in Birmingham this week.

Infrared, the traditional wire-free solution, is only capable of sending data a matter of centimetres. The Canonbeam DT-30 system can carry data between two points up to 500m apart at speeds from 10Mbps (megabits per second) to 156Mbps. And it doesn't require customers to stump up for an expensive leased line.

But, unlike the emerging radiowave-based wireless Bluetooth technology, Canon’s system, requires line-of-sight in order to maintain the flow of data. "There has to be an uninterrupted line between the two Canonbeam units, but if a bird flies by, that's okay," said spokesman Bob Meesterman. In this sense, the Canonbeam is more like infrared technology.

This means that no large objects can be in the way, but that hasn’t reduced interest in Canonbeam products. The company’s previous customers include the BBC and BT.

The DT-30 will be available worldwide from September, according to Meesterman. However, this convenience comes at a price – two network transceivers will set you back £18,000.