Researchers from Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) set a new data-rate record on Monday, with a speed of 1.02 petabits per second. This is a 10 Tb/s increase over the previous high-data-rate test, which took place in December 2020. It’s also over three times faster than NICT’s previous long-distance test from June.
To put that in perspective, 1.02 Pb/s is equivalent to putting 127,500GB down the pipe per second, or enough to support more than “10 million channels of 8K broadcasting each second,” according to the researchers.
Furthermore, the researchers claim that the method they used is compatible with existing fiber optic infrastructure, though it has been tweaked to allow for faster rates and parallel transmission. Instead of the single fiber optic core found in existing lines, the bespoke cable features four. Despite this distinction, data is delivered in only one mode per core, allowing existing equipment to receive and read it.
“Wavelength division multiplexing” improves speeds even more (WDM). The bandwidth can be increased to 20 THz by using WDM. Over the regular C- and L-bands, as well as the experimental S-band, that pipe is separated into 801 wavelength channels. To stabilize and increase the signal, the researchers deployed innovative optical amplification and signal modulation methods.
Although the NICT did not indicate any additional tests, based on its testing frequency, another long-distance test should be expected in roughly six months. It’s worth mentioning that the team’s previous 319 Tb/s long-distance speed employed the same four-core technology as this one, but at a lower bandwidth of 13.8 THz. Perhaps for the next one, the team will increase the bandwidth to 20 THz and set yet another record.