NASA has developed a modem that can transmit data 10 to 100 times faster than radio signals using light. They are planning on testing this device on the ISS using project LCRD(Laser Communications Relay Demonstration) in 2020. Back in 2013, they had experimented with laser communications to and from lunar orbit with 622Mbps download and 20Mbps respectively. This was during the project LADEE(Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). The LCRD project is supposed to be part of an ongoing operational system once the first tests - due to begin in 2019 - are finished. It will also demonstrate the feasibility of laser communications through this new type of modem.
The device has been dubbed ILLUMA(Integrated LCRD LEO User Modem and Amplifier. It'll be the size of a mobile phone and will be several times smaller than fiber-optic receivers that are used in spacecraft right now.
Don Cornwell, who is the director of NASA's Advanced Communication and Navigation Division said this:
While the technology isn't new, and it's apparently difficult to get them to work without creating speed bottlenecks with other components. If NASA can get this to work, we could be getting faster and smaller instruments. Additionally, they can also be mass-printed lithographically, so they're cheap to produce.
The leak ILLUMA developer Mike Krainak from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre said this:
This new device doesn't just have benefits in communications with satellites and ground stations. It'll also benefit medical imaging and manufacturing, as well as data centres used by ISPs.
Mike Krainak also had stated this: