The team that broke the terabit barrier in 2009 is at it again. This time the High-Speed Optical Communications (HSOC) team at the Technical University of Denmark accomplished a record-smashing 43 terabits per second (Tbps) transfer speed over a single optical fiber with just one laser transmitter. That’s equivalent to a transfer rate of around 5.4 terabytes per second.
The High-Speed Optical Communications group at the university’s photonics engineering department beat the previous record – 26 terabits per second – set by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2011.
As worldwide Internet traffic grows by 40–50 percent annually, driven by the popularity of cloud services and streamed music and video applications, network vendors are struggling to meet this demand.
The DTU team achieved its latest record thanks a new type of optical fiber, developed by Japanese telco NTT. The fiber contains seven cores, comprised of glass threads, instead of the single core used in standard fibers, enabling it to transfer more data in the same amount of space.
Most core networks use a technology called DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) to boost capacity by sending multiple channels of data at the same time, each transmitted by a different laser. Although this latest demonstration involved a single laser and a single fiber, a network built with the multi-core fibers would support much higher transfers than 43 Tbps.
Stuffing so much data into a single lane will also save on energy, an important benefit considering IT networks comprise about 2 percent of global energy demands.
Previously DTU researchers achieved the highest combined data transmission speed in the world, 1 petabit per second, using a setup with hundreds of lasers.
The latest benchmark results have been verified and presented at the CLEO 2014 international conference.