Researcher Dr. Lidia Galdino has worked with two other companies, including Xtera and KDDI Research, to set a world record for Internet data transmission rate. The researchers were able to achieve a data transmission rate of 178 terabits per second, which works out to 178,000 megabits a second. To put that speed in perspective, at such high download speeds, it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second.
The record is double the capacity of any system currently deployed around the globe. The team was able to hit such high transmission speeds by transmitting data through a much wider range of light colors, or wavelength, than typically used in optical fiber. Current infrastructure systems use a limited spectrum band with the 4.5 THz.
However, there are 9THz systems currently entering the market. The system the researchers developed uses 16.8THz. To achieve the feet the researchers combine different amplifier technologies required to boost the signal power over the wider bandwidth. The team also maximize the speed by developing new Geometric Shaping constellations and manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength.
One major benefit of the technique the researchers developed is that it can be deployed on existing infrastructure systems cost-efficiently. Upgrades will require amplifiers that are located on optical fiber routes at 40 to 100-kilometer intervals to be upgraded. Upgrading the amplifiers would cost, on average, £16,000 compared to the cost of installing new optical fibers, which can reach a cost of £450,000 per kilometer in urban areas.
The researchers note that the speed they have achieved is close to the theoretical limit of data transmission outlined by mathematician Claude Shannon in 1949. The new record was demonstrated in a laboratory and is a fifth faster than the previous world record set by a team from Japan.