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Fiber Cables Made of Air Transfers Data At 1.5 Terabit/second

Optical fibers are the backbone that makes broadband internet possible. Despites its high transmission capacity, optical fiber has a bottleneck – its latency. Researchers at the University of Southampton in England have been successful in developing a new kind of optical fiber to eliminate this shortcoming.


optical fiber

Tough data moves in optical fiber cables through light, it don’t move at the speed of light in vacuum, that is 300,000 km/s. Speed of light significantly reduce in a medium such as glass; it is roughly 200,000 km/s, about 30% lower speed of light in vacuum.

The group of researchers at University of Southampton has removed the glass from optical fiber cables used as the medium. This created a “hollow-core photonic-bandgap fibre,” which is mostly filled by air. This allowed data to move at 99.7 percent the speed of light in vacuum.

The methods used by the group allow light to follow the path of the cable when it twists and turn, but come at a cost of 3.5 dB/km data loss. This makes the cable suitable for short-range communication, but more work is needed before it can be used for long-range communication.

The cable uses wide-bandwidth channels to send 37 streams of 40 Gpbs each, making the aggregate transmission capacity to be 1.48 Tbps. Now, that’s huge!

Source: Nature

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