Japanese engineers have achieved a groundbreaking milestone, setting a new world record by transmitting a staggering 22.9 petabits per second through a single optical fiber. This remarkable feat, spearheaded by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), surpasses the global internet traffic per second by over 20 times.
Global internet traffic per second encapsulates the total volume of data coursing through the worldwide internet network within a single second, encompassing diverse online activities such as web browsing, video streaming, file downloads, and online gaming. While the majority of the world experiences internet speeds in the range of a few hundred megabits per second, the NICT’s accomplishment stands out as a testament to technological innovation.
NICT researchers achieved this breakthrough by delving into multiplexing technologies that optimize space and wavelength in optical fiber communications. This approach can be likened to widening roads, employing various lanes and traffic signals to enhance internet speed and accommodate more data. The research revealed that each core in the fiber cable could transmit data at speeds ranging from 0.3 to 0.7 petabits per second. By amalgamating all 38 cores, the total speed reached an unprecedented 22.9 petabits per second.
The key to this achievement lies in the utilization of cutting-edge technologies. Instead of relying on a single data-transmitting core, the cable designed by NICT boasts 38 cores, each capable of transmitting data in three modes, resulting in an impressive 114 spatial channels. This approach significantly increases the total transmission capacity by utilizing independent data channels across different wavelength bands.
Each mode is strategically placed in its spatial channel, featuring 750 wavelength channels across the S, C, and L bands, culminating in a bandwidth of 18.8 terahertz. This unique combination results in 22.9 petabits per second data transmission rate. The researchers at NICT suggest that further optimization in error correction could potentially elevate the system’s speed to a staggering 24.7 petabits per second, exceeding current optical fiber communication systems by over 1,000 times.
The NICT team views this accomplishment as a significant step toward the realization of future ultra-large capacity optical communication networks. In comparison, NASA’s internet speed appears archaic and sluggish.
The research findings were presented at the 49th European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC 2023) in October, marking a milestone in the evolution of internet speed and data transmission technologies.