Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have demonstrated data transmission of more than one petabit per second using standard 0.125mm diameter multi-core fiber (MCF), TechXplore reported.
As the world becomes more connected and the need for information more urgent than ever, there is massive pressure to make our devices faster & support them with an unprecedented data transmission backbone. Earlier this year we reported on how 10Gbps Internet connections are fast approaching reality, and now researchers at NICT’s (Network Research Institute) have demonstrated petabit data transmission.
Advances in optical fiber manufacturing
The world of communications took a giant leap as we moved-away from copper wire to optical fiber. Data transfer speeds increased manifold, and it’s the same infrastructure that allows you to make high-quality video calls & watch movies in 4K resolution.
In the lab, however, researchers are working on advanced fiber optical cables that look like those that run into your home but can support multiple propagation paths on inside. One such technique involves the use of different transmission modes inside single core.
In December 2020, NICT researchers demonstrated petabit data transmission using 15 modes in a single core. However, for this transmission to work efficiently, signal processing is also required to work in MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) mode. This means that the signals are encrypted as they travel through the core and must now need to-be decrypted by specialized equipment when signal received. This requires the use of dedicated integrated circuits and the practical use of this technology is difficult until we develop the circuits at scale.
The other option is to only transmit signals in one mode, but to pack more cores into one optical fiber. The result is multiple data transmission paths sent through an optical fiber that looks no different from the outside but carries millions of bits of data through it on the inside. Since the manufacture of these cables is not much different than single-core cables, it is easier to implement them in commercial reality.
Advances in signal processing
The NICT researchers used wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), in which signals of different wavelengths are sent over the same medium. This allows more data to be transmitted simultaneously over the same cable. This technology has-been exploited commercially & fiber optical cable operators used the C & L bands to send across their data.
In addition to using these two bands, the NICT researchers also included the newly explored S-band in their test transmission. Using special amplifiers for these bands, the researchers managed to transmit over 801 wavelengths and achieve a record optical bandwidth of 20 THz in a multi-core fiber, said in the press release. The entire system transmitted data at a rate of 1.02 petabits per second over a distance of 51 km (31.68 miles).
As the world rolls out 5G, an explosion in the amount of data that will need to-be transmitted, and technologies like this can ensure the transition is effortless.
The researchers presented their work at the International Conference on Lasers & Electro-Optics (CLEO) 2022.