When it comes to speed, few things deliver quite like fiber optic.
At present, the word’s fast fiber optic line travels at a max of 100 Gbps, but a new multi-modal line is set to deliver 255 Tbs. Developed in conjunction with the University of Central Florida and Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, the impressive feat will change the face of the international communications – all with one highly powerful strand.
What Can It Do?
There are a number of exciting USPs associated with this line.
Currently, the world’s fastest transatlantic cable is made up of a singular-mode fiber, meaning light travels down through the one single source. A single-mode optical fiber is the most basic form of fiber optic cable. Within this, signals travel down through the middle of the fiber without reflection. Multi-mode optical fibers, however, are around 10 times the size of single-mode fibers, allowing light beams to use multiple pathways when traveling. Single mode fibers are most often used over long distances, while multiple modes are suited to short distances (a maximum of 2km).
Using multi-mode fiber technology, the researchers were able to create something more powerful as each cable contains seven different cores, meaning it can carry up to seven separate distinct signals. In short, it can carry 2,550 times the data into a strand than a single-module fiber. That means that a single 1 GB file can be transmitted in .003 sec, making it the fastest fiber cable in the world. According to the research team, the development of this high-speed form of communication is essential to “our information-driven society,” as the increased reliance on international information transmission means the conventional single-mode fiber is near enough reaching capacity.
While the technology utilized by the researchers is not new, it is under-utilized owing to its high cost. For that reason, the most current fiber optic cables are still in very high demand. Research into fiber cable technology is ongoing around the world in the hopes of realizing the potential of this method of technological communication and making it more cost-efficient for businesses on a smaller scale. This cable may have revolutionized communication as we know it, but it won’t be ready for implementation for some time. There are a number of obstacles that will hamper the installation, namely cost, as a great deal of international infrastructure would need to be replaced or moved completely.
However, given that scientists met in London earlier in the year to discuss the so-called Internet “capacity crunch,” an overhaul to this infrastructure may become more necessary than ever. Ways of maximizing the power of fiber to accommodate growing rates of global Internet usage were discussed, and it was recognized that new fiber technology would indeed be needed. While typically, increased rates of consumption have been met with sending more power through fiber optic cables, the birth of streaming and downloads has brought about a need for better quality. The more light beamed through the cables, the lesser the signal becomes, and so technology such as the new multi-mode fiber cable could very much become the face of the digital future.