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February 29, 2016

Researchers Set New Optical Data Transfer Rate Record

Precision Optical Technologies

Traditionally, commercial optical transmission systems have transferred data at rates of up to 100 gigabits per second. Recently, a team of researchers at University College London (UCL) broke through the data rate ceiling through their demonstration of a fiber optic system with throughput of approximately 1.125 terabits per second. According to the lead project researcher, Dr. Robert Maher of UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering, the breakthrough was achieved by applying known techniques in information theory and digital signal processing to a multi-channel system. The system employed 15 optical transmitters and a single high-bandwidth receiver, and its arrangement allowed the system as a whole to reach a breakthrough level of throughput. The concept of 15 channels operating on its own wavelength poses a difficult challenge. As Dr. Maher explains, “[U]sing a single receiver varies the levels of performance of each optical sub-channel so we had to finely optimize both the modulation format and code rate for each optical channel individually to maximize the net information data rate.” To achieve the maximum data rate in the experiment, researchers connected the receiver directly to the transmitter. The next step in the experiment will be to demonstrate that the technique can achieve similar throughput rates when the transmitter and receiver are separated by a large distance. Transmitting data through such long lengths of fiber optic cable will inevitably introduce signal distortions that must be anticipated and mitigated. For information about our optical transceiver products and services, please contact us.