New Cables Offer Blazing Data Speeds, Near Speed of Light

Researchers are now reporting staggering data speeds, moving at 99.7 percent the speed of light through recently created fiber cables. This is an important move towards creating very low-latency data transmissions. Normally, optic fibers transmit using beams of light, but that doesn’t mean the information actually travels at light speed. In fact, it typically goes about 30 percent slower than that on average.

“Light propagates 31 percent slower in a silica glass fibre than in vacuum, thus compromising latency,” notes a paper published Sunday in Nature Photonics, titled “Towards high-capacity fibre-optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum.”

A research team from the University of Southampton in England solved this issue by removing the glass from the glass fiber, resulting in a “hollow-core photonic-bandgap fibre,” which is “made mostly of air yet still allows light to follow the path of the cable when it twists and turns,” explains Ars Technica.

These methods resulted in data loss of 3.5 dB/km, “an impressively low number considering its incredibly low latency,” the article adds.

Those numbers are still too high for long-range communications, however. “For longer transmission distances, additional work is needed to further reduce surface scattering loss and to achieve the sub-0.2 dB km,” the researchers wrote.

UPDATE from Ars Technica: “Although this wasn’t described in the paper, one of the researchers told ExtremeTech that the cable’s throughput actually goes up to 73.7Tbps, ‘using wave division multiplexing (WDM), combined with mode division multiplexing, to transmit three modes of 96 channels of 256Gbps.'”

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.