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1.8 Petabit per Second – This Is the New Data Transfer Speed Record


Scientists have set yet another data transfer speed record. The fastest data transfer between a laser and a single optical chip is now 1.8 petabits (Pbits) per second!

This, by the way, significantly exceeds the amount of traffic that passes through the entire Internet every second. And here’s another comparison: the median speed of broadband connection in Ukraine according to the Ookla service in June of this year was about 53 Mbps for download and up to 54.13 Mbps for upload.

Data transfer speed

The innovative data transfer system is built around a specially designed optical chip that takes light from a single infrared laser and splits it into hundreds of frequencies. These frequencies are isolated at a fixed distance from each other, much like the teeth of a comb. That’s why the device was called a frequency comb.

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Each “tooth” transmits its own data packet, thus helping to achieve these huge speeds. Using traditional means, it would take about a thousand lasers to transmit the same number of ones and zeroes.

“What is special about this chip is that it produces a frequency comb with ideal characteristics for fiber-optical communications,” says nanoscientist Victor Torres Company from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. “It has high optical power and covers a broad bandwidth within the spectral region that is interesting for advanced optical communications.”

Data transfer speed

The researchers divided the optical fiber cable into 37 separate sections, and then each of them into 223 more frequency sections, i.e. “comb teeth” and encoded the data into light signals using modulation. The speed record was achieved precisely because of the possibility of parallel transmission of such a large amount of data.

So far this is only a proof of concept and the data used is a “dummy”. This was done because computers are not yet capable of generating such a volume at the same time, and it is necessary to test the system somehow. In addition, the chip still needs to be supplemented with some components, in particular, data encoding devices. But after that, according to the researchers, the system will become faster and less energy-intensive than the one that exists now.

Data transfer speed

“Our solution provides a potential for replacing hundreds of thousands of the lasers located at Internet hubs and data centers, all of which guzzle power and generate heat,” says electrical engineer Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe from the Technical University of Denmark. “We have an opportunity to contribute to achieving an Internet that leaves a smaller climate footprint.”

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Actually, this is not the limit. Researchers are sure that they can set a new record if the light frequencies are further divided and the generated signals are amplified. Then the speed can reach 100 Pbps without loss of data quality. “The more components we can integrate in the chip, the more efficient the whole transmitter will be,” says Katsuo Oxenløwe. “It will be an extremely efficient optical transmitter of data signals.”

You can also help Ukraine fight with Russian occupants via Savelife or via an official page of the National Bank of Ukraine.

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