Researchers develop optical fibre capable of over 1 petabit per second

Boffins claim new fibre can transmit 12 times as much data as existing optic fibres.

A coupler created by Macquarie University in Australia, combined with a fibre fabricated by Hokkaido University and equipment maker Fujikura, and a transmission system developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, has led to transmission speeds in excess of 1 petabit.

The new four-core, three-mode fibre was touted as being the same width as existing standard fibre, but was capable of 12 times the data speed. Macquarie University said the fibre was less prone to damage due to its narrower diameter, and could be used with existing equipment.

"The world's insatiable demand for data means that we are approaching a 'capacity crunch' and need to find new ways to transport ever-larger volumes," said Dr Simon Gross of the Macquarie Photonics Research Centre.

"This technology promises a solution to the bottleneck created by existing optical fibres. For the first time, we have created a realistic and useable-sized fibre which is resilient and can transport huge amounts of data."

Uses of the fibre would be in backhaul networks, the university said, although it pointed out that the fibre's capacity was "12 million times quicker than the fastest NBN connection".

In September, NBN announced that it had doubled the capacity on its fibre-optic transit network to 19.2Tbps per fibre link.

The upgraded capacity kicked off in Sydney between Eastern Creek and Asquith, with the 3,600km route between Darwin and Brisbane to follow in December -- to support growth on the Sky Muster satellite service -- and will then be switched on progressively across the nation.

"The capacity upgrade has been made possible with the successful installation of new optical transmission technology -- from network equipment maker Coriant's CloudWave Optics -- that supports per-wavelength transmission rates of 200 gigabits per second (Gbps) on optical transport backbone networks," NBN explained.

Earlier in the year, Japanese giant NEC teamed up with Google to work out how to use artificial intelligence to boost the spectral efficiency across the FASTER subsea cable system to 6 bits per second per hertz for a capacity of more than 26 terabits per second.

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