Record-Breaking Laser Beam Transfers 26 Terabits Per Second

Researchers in Germany have broken the world record for the fastest data transfer speed over a single fibre optic cable. And at 26 terabits per second, it's fast enough to transfer the entire Library of Congress in 10 seconds.

The record-breaking laser beam was created by Professor Wolfgang Freude and other colleagues at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. You may remember that the previous data transfer record was 109 terabits per second; but in that instance, the laser used seven "light-guiding cores" as opposed to this newer, single-core driven system:

Using one laser with short pulses—with said pulses containing around 325 separate colours of light, each carrying their own bit of information—Freude and his colleagues were able to send the information down 50 km of optical fibre and extract the different colours using a fast Fourier transform, which is an algorithm that can extract the different colours from a beam based on the number of times different parts of said beam arrive. Freude's team manages to do this optically, rather than mathematically, by splitting the arriving beam in various parts that arrive at different times.

Once the data's all on the receiving end, it can be reassembled and voila!

Professor Freude is first to admit that this form of data transfer probably won't be available to the masses for a while. But he also believes that as data hogs like you and me become more demanding, it'll eventually find its way. So, leechers, you know what to do - start downloading more legitimate information than your ISPs know what to do with. [BBC via Geekosystem]

Image credit: gurms/FlickrCC

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