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New Record for Optical Data Transmission Speed

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 03:02PM

Many people will associate optical data transmission with the backbone of the Internet, but it is actually used in many, less grand situations, such as connecting servers and supercomputers within a single building. Like the Internet though, speed is very important and the equipment is approaching the limits of the optical technology. As reported by The Optical Society, IBM researchers have recently set a new data-rate record for multimode optical fiber of 64 Gb/s.

Multimode optical fiber is typically used to in those smaller situations mentioned above, and in this case was only 57 meters long. To achieve that record, the researchers employed a technique commonly used in electrical communication, but not in optical communication yet. This technique is called transmit equalization and works to widen the bandwidth of an optical link. Interestingly the researchers also used non-return-to-zero (NRZ) modulation, which is a standard in optical communication. What makes this interesting is that few believe such modulation can achieve transfer rates faster than 32 GB/s. Obviously that is not the case.

While the record-setting speed was only achieved with a 57 meter long multimode fiber that should suffice for many data centers where 80% of cables are less than 50 meters long, and supercomputers likewise do not require that long of cables. Also the new technology is ready right now for commercialization.

Source: The Optical Society

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