Fiber-optic network sets world record

Mar 28, 2006
Laboratory for data transmission at 2.56 terabits per second
Laboratory for data transmission at 2.56 terabits per second. © Fraunhofer HHI

As Internet traffic grows exponentially, so high-speed data transmission becomes crucial. Fraunhofer researchers (Germany) are now using new technology that supports speeds of 2.56 terabits per second over fiber-optic cables - the equivalent of 60 DVDs.

Growth of the Internet community is relentless. Around 700 million people regularly accessed the World Wide Web in 2004. Since then the number of users has grown by another 20 percent.

To enable telecommunications networks to cope with the phenomenal surge in data traffic, researchers are focusing on new systems to increase data transmission rates.

"You transmit data at various wavelengths simultaneously in the fiber-optic networks. For organizational and economic reasons each wavelength signal is assigned a data rate as high as possible", explains Prof. Hans-Georg Weber from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut HHI in Berlin, who heads a project under the MultiTeraNet program funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

A few weeks ago the scientist and his team established a new world record together with colleagues from the company Fujitsu: For the first time they transmitted a data signal at 2.56 terabits per second over a 160-kilometer link – equivalent to 2,560,000,000,000 bits per second or the contents of 60 DVDs. By comparison, the fastest high-speed links currently carry data at a maximum 40 Gbit/s, or around 50 times slower. The Berlin-based group has smashed the existing record of 1.28 terabits per second; the record held previously by a Japanese group of researchers stood for five years.

Data is transmitted in fiber-optic cables using ultrashort pulses of light and is normally encoded by switching the laser on and off. A pulse gives the binary 1, off the 0. You therefore have two light intensity states to transmit the data. The Fraunhofer researchers have now managed to squeeze more data into a single pulse by packing four, instead of the previous two, binary data states in a light pulse using phase modulation."

"Faster data rates are hugely important for tomorrow's telecommunications", explains Weber. The researcher assumes the transmission capacity on the large transoceanic traffic links will need to increase to between 50 and 100 terabits per second in ten to 20 years. "This kind of capacity will only be feasible with the new high-performance systems."

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

9 hours ago

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

Enabling a new future for cloud computing

10 hours ago

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced two $10 million projects to create cloud computing testbeds—to be called "Chameleon" and "CloudLab"—that will enable the academic research community ...

Hitchhiking robot reaches journey's end in Canada

13 hours ago

A chatty robot with an LED-lit smiley face sent hitchhiking across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment reached its final destination Thursday after several thousand kilometers on the road.

Microsoft to unveil new Windows software

14 hours ago

A news report out Thursday indicated that Microsoft is poised to give the world a glimpse at a new-generation computer operating system that will succeed Windows 8.

Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

16 hours ago

SoundCloud said Thursday that it will start paying artists and record companies whose music is played on the popular streaming site, a move that will bring it in line with competitors such as YouTube and Spotify.

User comments : 0