Alcatel Boosts Fiber Speed to 100 Petabits in Lab

istock_000004000555xsmallAlcatel-Lucent today said that scientists at Bell Labs have set an optical transmission record that could deliver data about 10 times faster than current undersea cables,  resulting in speeds of more than 100 Petabits per second.kilometer.  A petawhat? This translates to the equivalent of about 100 million Gigabits per second.kilometer or sending about 400 DVDs per second over 7,000 kilometers, roughly the distance between Paris and Chicago.

Such capacity increases on our undersea cables are important. A single home isn’t sending about 400 DVDs per second, however, as video becomes increasingly available and downloaded on the web, entire neighborhoods and geographic regions will get there, and that capacity increase is reflected in the growth of long-haul networking demand. That’s why research such as this and new companies such as Cyan Optics are so important to maintaining the current pace of innovation on the web. Now that broadband is our platform we have to make sure it continues to get faster and faster.

The transmissions were not just faster, they were accomplished over a network whose repeaters are 20 percent farther apart than commonly maintained in such networks,  which could decrease the costs of deploying such a network.

To achieve these results, researchers from the Bell Labs facility in Villarceaux, France used 155 lasers, each operating at a different frequency and carrying 100 Gigabits of data per second. The team multiplied the number of lasers by their transmission rate of 100 Gigabits per second and then multiplied the 15.5-Terabit-per-second result by the 7,000-kilometer distance achieved. The combination of speed multiplied by distance expressed as bit per second.kilometers is a standard measure for high-speed optical transmission.

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