You read right: 400-gigabits-per-second.
According to Science Magazine, Internet data traffic capacity is rapidly “reaching limits” imposed by optical fiber nonlinear effects. Having almost exhausted available “degrees of freedom” to ‘orthogonally’ multiplex data, it says that “the possibility is now being explored of using spatial modes of fibers to enhance data capacity.”
“We demonstrate the viability of using the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of light to create orthogonal, spatially distinct streams of data-transmitting channels that are multiplexed in a single fiber.”
To put the discovery into real-life perspective for you, Google’s new ‘Fiber’ internet service, (rolling out in limited trial to a select number of Americans over the coming months), will provide a connection to the internet capable of transferring 1 Gigabit. This week’s discovery, however, could potentially open the door to data transfer speeds which measure 400x this amount.
That’s 50GB. Per second.
The group of scientists explain that they were able to use over 1.1 kilometers of a “specially designed” optical fiber that “minimizes mode coupling,” and was thus able to achieve “400-gigabits-per-second data transmission” using ‘four angular’ momentum modes “at a single wavelength.”
The group note that they were also able to achieve 1.6 terabits per second using two ‘OAM modes’ over 10 wavelengths. “These demonstrations suggest that OAM could provide an additional degree of freedom for data multiplexing in future fiber networks,” the group concluded.
For a brief summary of the findings, head over to sciencemag.org.