In 1966, Sir Charles Kao discovered laser light’s ability to transmit data at tremendous speed. Consequently, most of the communications data moving around the world today travels via light pulses through fiber optic networks. In 2009, Doctor Charles K. Kao was awarded a Nobel prize for his work in the field of fiber optics, and this year his achievements are recognized once again as the field of fiber optic communications celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Over the last five decades, fiber optics have had a major impact on many aspects of modern society. It has changed the way we communicate with each other, how people learn, and the way they work. Fiber optics, serving as the backbone of the Internet, has provided benefits to nearly all vital areas of life – including science, medicine, space exploration, technology, business and education.
The communication capacity of optical networks continues to grow.
Current technology is fast enough to transmit a 1GB movie in approximately 31 milliseconds; however, recent discoveries have proven that light can transmit data at even greater speeds. Researchers at the University College in London have recently achieved a data transfer rate of 1.125 terabits per second over optical cable between a single transmitter and receiver. This equates to roughly 50,000 times faster than the premium 24Mbps broadband speeds available on the market today.
Fiber optic networks have made telecommunications more affordable and accelerated the growth of the internet. Technologies such as optical amplifiers and WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) have eliminated the need for satellite switching and have enabled data centers to support social networks and powerful search engines.
Optical communications, now an essential element of societal and economic growth, will continue to play a vital role in the development of new technologies and our way of life. Given the dramatic evolution of fiber optic technology over the last five decades, it is hard to imagine what the world of telecommunications will be like 50 years from now.
For more information about discoveries in telecommunications or to speak to a representative about our optical transceivers and related optical components, feel free to contact us.