The Real (and Virtual) Adventures of Nathan the IT Guy

May 23 2011   5:21PM GMT

Laser puts 26Tb/sec through fibre

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

So cool! Fibre optics might just receive an upgrade in the not so far future!

Researchers have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using a single laser: 26 terabits per second.

That’s crazy, to think that someday data transfer rates will be instataneous from point A to point B.

While the total data rate possible using such schemes is limited only by the number of lasers available, there are costs, says Wolfgang Freude, a co-author of the current paper from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

“Already a 100 terabits per second experiment has been demonstrated,” he told BBC News.

“The problem was they didn’t have just one laser, they had something like 370 lasers, which is an incredibly expensive thing. If you can imagine 370 lasers, they fill racks and consume several kilowatts of power.”

Professor Freude and his colleagues have instead worked out how to create comparable data rates using just one laser with exceedingly short pulses.

Within these pulses are a number of discrete colours of light in what is known as a “frequency comb”.

When these pulses are sent into an optical fibre, the different colours can add or subtract, mixing together and creating about 325 different colours in total, each of which can be encoded with its own data stream.

You have to read the full story here though, its quite an interesting read. Last year they attained 10Tb/s, so in one year they more than doubled sustained transfer rates. Amazing stuff.

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