Scientists at Copenhagen’s Technical University of Denmark have achieved a data transfer rate of 1.84 petabits per second using a single photonic chip connected via a single fiber optic cable. The feat was achieved at a distance of 7.9 km (4.9 miles). Several aspects of this achievement estimate that the average Internet bandwidth used by the global population at any given time of day is about 1 petabit/second.
As the amount of data transferred over the Internet for business, entertainment, and software downloads and updates continues to grow, infrastructure companies are constantly looking for new ways to increase available bandwidth. So 1.84 petabits/sec over standard optical cable using a compact single-chip solution is very attractive.
Photonic chip technology has great potential for optical data transfer purposes, as both the processor and the transfer medium operate on light waves.new scientist (opens in new tab) Danish scientists, led by Asbjørn Arvad Jørgensen, briefly describe how to provide such bandwidth with the resources at hand.
First, the data stream used in the test was split into 37 lines, each sent to a different optical thread within the cable. Each of the 37 data lines was divided into 223 data chunks corresponding to zones of the optical spectrum. This allowed us to create a “frequency comb” where data was sent in different colors at the same time without interfering with other streams. In other words, a “massively parallel space/wavelength multiplexed data transmission” system was born. Of course, this splitting and re-splitting greatly increased the potential data throughput supported by fiber optic cables.
Testing and validating a bandwidth of 1.84 petabits/second was no easy task. No computer has ever been able to store, send, or receive such an enormous amount of data. The research team used dummy data on individual channels to verify full-on bandwidth capacity. Each channel was tested individually to ensure that the received data matched the transmitted data.
In operation, the photonic chip splits a single laser into many frequencies and some processing is required to encode the optical data for each of the 37 data fiber optic streams. According to Jørgensen, a sophisticated and fully featured optical processing device should be able to be built roughly the size of a matchbox. This is similar in size to current monochromatic laser transmission devices used in the telecommunications industry.
Ut effectively increases data bandwidth by a factor of 8,251 by replacing matchbox-sized optical data encoder/decoders with similarly sized photonic chip-equipped devices while maintaining the same fiber optic cable infrastructure. I’m sure you can. The researchers say their work shows enough potential to inspire “changes in the design of future communication systems.”
Learn more about the record 1.84 Petabits/sec data transfer below. Petabits/second data transmission using a chip-scale micro-comb ring resonator source paper (opens in new tab).