Impatient computer users fed up with waiting for hefty downloads could benefit from a laser bandwidth breakthrough that enables data rates of 26Tbits/sec.
The uber-fast broadband landmark – equivalent of downloading 700 DVDs a second – using a single laser beam sent over 50Km, according to scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
The blazing speed puts into perspective BT’s proposed 100Mbits/sec fibre to the premises, which is 260,000 times slower. It's more than a million times faster than the Government's idea of "superfast" broadband, recently defined as 25Mbits/sec.
The increased bandwidth stems from performing the maths behind the transfer using an opto-electrical decoding technique that is far faster than would be possible with straightforward electronic processing methods.
“The challenge was to increase the process speed not only by a factor of 1000, but by a factor of nearly a million for data processing at 26Tbits/sec,” said Jürg Leuthold, head of the Institutes of Photonics and Quantum Electronics and Microstructure Technology at Karlsruhe.
“The decisive innovative idea was optical implementation of the mathematical routine.”
According to Leuthold, the single laser system is far faster than would previously have been impossible even with a large number of lasers working in unison, and could solve the backbone capacity shortfall as video traffic surges on the web.
“A few years ago, data rates of 26Tbits/sec were deemed utopian even for systems with many lasers,” Leuthold added. “And there would not have been any applications. With 26Tbits/sec, it would be possible to transmit up to 400 million telephone calls at the same time."
“Video transmissions require extremely high bit rates and the need is growing constantly,” Leuthold said. “In communication networks, the first lines with channel data rates of 100Gbits/sec - or 0.1Tbits/sec - have already gone into operation.”