Think your fibre’s is fast? Think again: A team of engineers has smashed the world record for sending data down an optical fibre at room temperature, achieving speeds of up to 57 Gbps.
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Researchers from University of Illinois have been using a new breed of laser — the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser, to its friends — to push the speed of data transmission. That’s because they create a sharper, more efficient pulse of light.
In 2014, the team hit 40Gbps sending data down an optical fibre. Now, they have shown that they can send error-free data down an optical optical fibre at speeds of 57 Gbps. That’s at room temperature: The speed drops to 50 Gbps at temperatures of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. At those kinds of speeds, you could download the contents of a Blu-ray in under a second.
The decrease in transmission speed at higher temperatures is due to increased distortion in the optical fibre. As things heat up, the signal is more likely to degrade, which means that the team has to dedicate more of the available bandwidth to error-correction. Performing experiments at room temperature puts a limit on speed, then — but it also makes the experiments real-world relevant.
Higher data transmission speeds have been achieved in the past, but not down fibre optic cable. Researchers from University College London have sent data at 1.125 terabits per second between transmitter and receiver, but over zero distance.
But the University of Illinois researchers are working with real hardware in realistic conditions, which make their 57 Gbps an amazing feat. An amazing feat that we’d like to have a part of.