AT&T researchers have developed a method to increase the distance that large amounts of data can travel through a fiber-optic connection, allowing 400 Gbps signals to travel 12,000 kilometers, and promising faster ocean-crossing transmissions without adding more equipment.
"This is the world record for the product of spectral efficiency [the amount of data carried on a wavelength] times distance, and no one else has used this technique," says AT&T researcher Peter Magill.
The AT&T approach uses modulating light and new algorithms to accelerate the processing of data carried in the light signal. The breakthrough is applicable to routers that encode light signals sent over fiber backbones that must efficiently handle traffic for millions of users over long distances, as opposed to fiber-to-the-home lines that go a short distance within a city or city block.
"If you don’t want to light up more fiber, which is expensive, this allows you to get much more throughput," says Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Muriel Medard. "This allows you to extend the life of the stuff that’s already there."
Meanwhile, the recent boosts in long-haul fiber performance are being matched by improvements in wireless bandwidth.
From Technology Review
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