Fiber Optic Cable

Standard Fiber Optic Tech Achieves Record 1.53 Petabit per Second Transmissions

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A team of researchers with the Network Research Institute of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, Japan) have achieved a new bandwidth world record over a single, standard-diameter optical fiber. 

The researchers achieved a bandwidth of around 1.53 petabits per second by encoding information across 55 different light frequencies (a technique known as multiplexing). That’s enough bandwidth to carry the entire world’s Internet traffic (estimated at less than 1 Petabit per second) through a single fiber optics cable. That’s a far cry from the gigabit connections we mere mortals have at our disposal (in the best scenarios): to be precise; it’s a million times higher.

The technology works by taking advantage of the different frequencies of light available across the spectrum. Since each “color” within the spectrum (of visible and invisible light) has its own frequency that’s distinct from all others, it can be made to carry its own independent information stream. The researchers managed to unlock a spectral efficiency of 332 bits/s/Hz (bits per second per Hz). That’s a three-times higher efficiency than their best previous attempt, back in 2019, which achieved a spectral efficiency of 105 bits/s/Hz.

Previous experiments yielded vastly inferior spectral efficiency and lowered transmission capacity, despite making use of three to six times more wavelengths and across multiple bands. (Image credit: NICT)

The researchers managed to transmit information on the C-band throughout 184 different wavelengths – the separate, non-overlapping frequencies that were made to carry information within the fiber cable simultaneously. Before being sent through the fiber optics cable, the light was modulated to transmit 55 separate data streams (modes). After modulation (and like most fiber optics cables currently deployed), it needed a single glass core to transmit all that data. When data is sent (across 184 wavelengths and 55 modes), the receiver decodes the different wavelengths and modes to gather their data. In the experiment, the distance between sender and receiver was set at 25.9 kilometers.

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