Researchers of Japanese telecom giant NTT have demonstrated an impressive data transfer technology. They were able to achieve a download speed of 1 petabit in a single second over a distance of 52.4 kilometers. Converted to gigabytes, that is a whopping 131,072 GB per second. The result is described as ‘a new world record throughput over a single strand of optical fiber’ and is an enormous increase over the previous 305 Tbps record. Downloading at this speed means that you could watch 5000 HDTV streams over a single fiber and the researchers claim that it’s 1000 times faster than current commercially available technology.
Researchers expect that over 10 years we will consume 10x more data than now due to the availability of faster connections, both wired and wireless. With current technology it’s hard to keep up with the demand, mainly due to the fact that when multiple fiber cores are close to each other, they suffer from data leakage due to electromagnetic interference.
To achieve the 1 petabit a second the researchers had to rethink how the cores in fibers are combined and found the solution by designing a special fiber that arranges 12 cores in a near cylindrical configuration, where there is only interference on the left and the right of the fiber.
They also changed how the optical sensors and transmitter works. Normally these work by putting the signal on and off, thus having two states. With the new technology they found a way of sending more values at once, this technology is called: ‘polarization multiplexed QAM digital coherent technology’.
The researchers expect that in the future they will be able to achieve the higher speeds over longer distances.