One laser transmitted a second of Internet traffic in record time

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists continue to study records of data transmission. The fastest information transfer between a laser and a single optical chip system is now set at 1.8 petabits per second.

This far exceeds the amount of traffic passing through the entire Internet every second.

Here’s another comparison: The average broadband download speed in the US is 167 megabits per second. You need 1000 megabits to get a gigabit and then 1 million gigabits to get 1 petabit.

Regardless of how you imagine it, 1.8 petabits is a serious amount of data to transfer per second.

The supercharged data transmission system is based on a specially designed optical chip that uses light from a single infrared laser and splits it into hundreds of frequencies.

The frequencies are isolated at a fixed distance from each other, like the teeth in a comb – hence the name of this setup – a frequency comb.

Each “tooth” on the frequency comb can send its own packet. data, resulting in high transmission speeds. Using more traditional means, it would take about a thousand lasers to transmit the same number of ones and zeros.

“The feature of this chip is that it creates a frequency comb with ideal characteristics for fiber optic networks. connections,” says nanoscientist Victor Torres of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

“It has high optical power and covers a wide bandwidth in a spectral region that is interesting for advanced optical communications.”

To achieve this goal, the researchers divided the fiber optic cable into 37 individual segments of the core, and then each segment was divided into 223 segments with different frequencies – the teeth on the comb. Sending so much data in parallel was critical to achieving write speed.

The actual data itself was encoded into the light signals using a process called modulation, which adjusts the pitch, strength, rhythm, and direction of the light signals. light waves to store the ones and zeros that make up the digital data.

So far this is just a proof of concept, not least because computers are not capable of generating or receiving that much data at once. In the case of this study, artificial “dummy” data was used to make sure the system was working properly.

Moreover, additional components must be included in the chip, including data encoding devices. . Once this is done, the researchers say the resulting system will run much faster and consume less power than what we have now.

“Our solution makes it possible to replace hundreds of thousands of lasers. are located in Internet hubs and data centers that consume electricity and generate heat,” says electrical engineer Leif Katsuo Oksenleve from the Technical University of Denmark.

“We have the opportunity to do our part to make the Internet less of a climate footprint.”

Through the use of a computational model, the researchers were also able to determine that there is significant potential when it comes to system scaling – even higher data rates should be possible. in future.

By further separating the light frequencies and further amplifying the signals produced, speeds of up to 100 petabits per second are possible, models show. All this can be done without loss of data reliability.

Reaching this milestone will depend on improvements in other areas of computing and internet infrastructure, but the underlying technologies lasers, optical fibers are not too far removed from what we already use.

“The more components we can integrate into a chip, the more efficient the entire transmitter will be,” says Katsuo Oksenlöwe. “It will be an extremely efficient optical data signal transmitter.”

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