The world’s fastest data transmission rate has been achieved by a team of UCL engineers who reached an internet speed a fifth faster than the previous record.
Dr Lidia Galdino (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering), Working with two companies, Xtera and KDDI Research, achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second), a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second.
The data send through a wider spectrum of light than it was sent through the usual optical fibre. The bandwidth researchers used was 16.8 THz which stands for Terahertz wave frequency. It is way more than commercial bandwidth range with a 9 THz.
To achieve 178 terabits a second, researchers combined different amplifier technologies needed to boost the signal power over this wider bandwidth and maximised speed by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations (patterns of signal combinations.
That makes the best use of the phase, brightness and polarisation properties of the light), manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength. The achievement is described in a new paper in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.
The advantage of the technology is it can deploy on existing infrastructure cost-effectively. The upgrading would cost £16,000, while installing new optical fibers can, in urban areas, cost up to £450,000 a kilometre
“Internet traffic has increased exponentially over the last 10 years and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. The development of new technologies is crucial to maintaining this trend towards lower costs while meeting future data rate demands that will continue to increase, with as yet unthought-of applications that will transform people’s lives,”Dr. Lidia Galdino