As news that a team of scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany had managed to transfer data at 26Tbps reached us, we decided to find out more about the technology and who might be using it next. Here are five facts about the new technology:
(1) Each of the 325 light colours within the laser beam transports a whopping 80Gbps; that's enough to transfer all the content on a 3TB hard disk drive in under five minutes. In comparison, SATA 6Gbps, a common storage interface, is only limited by the client's technology and has a maximum theoretical transfer rate of 6Gbps.
(2) The researchers used only one laser to achieve that; the former record holder used 370 lasers to achieve 100Tbps. They did not however give more details as to what kind of laser they used, whether it is one based on Germanium for instance.
(3) The data was transferred using a transmission link with 50 km of standard single-mode fibre (SMF-28) and dispersion-compensating fibre, which is quite impressive. Several lasers could potentially be bonded together to reach much higher speeds.
(4) The original news article which was sent back in August 2010 to News Photonics, was accepted only in April 2011 and was published on the 22nd of May 2011. You can read an abstract here and buy the article for $32.
(5) Intel has been the closest yet to releasing an optical interface; Thunderbolt (originally called Light Peak) is meant to reach 100Gbps transfer rates over the next decade and a 26Tb laser might help reaching that.