Friday, October 14, 2011

World record: 109 terabits per second over single optical fibre

Imagine being able to download three-months-worth of HD video in one second. If it sounds implausible, it’s not. Two different research groups have been working on a way to speed up fiber optic technology to record-setting broadband speeds.
When the first commercial fiber-optic communications system was developed in 1975, it operated at a bit rate of 45 Mbps. Today, we have speeds of 109Tb per second which is drastically improved. New Scientist said that the route between New York and Washington D.C., which is one of the highest trafficked routes in the world, outputs “a few terabits per second.” So, relatively speaking, having a way to deliver 100 terabits per second is quite desirable for the future of data communications.
The 109 terabit per second speed was achieved by the National Institute of Information and Communications in Tokyo. The group developed a fibre that uses seven “light-guiding cores,” instead of the normal single core. Each core was able to carry 15.6 terabits per second, which totaled 109 terabits combined.
The second record-setter came from NEC’s Dayou Qian, who achieved 101.7 terabits per second. His method did not use more cores, but instead created the pulse sent down the line from 370 separate lasers. Each laser contained a small packet of information, but combined to form a massive amount of data transfer. He used 165 kilometers of fibre to demonstrate this super-fast transfer rate.
Though we probably wont’ be seeing it in our homes anytime soon, huge data centers, like those of Amazon, Facebook, and Google would be smart to start using these techniques for faster speeds. But high traffic on the web thanks to services like Hulu and Netflix, coupled with more people hooking up to the Internet every day, means we’ll definitely need these ridiculously high speeds in the near future.

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