Forget mere 100G, how about 32T? Now that’s fast! AT&T, NEC, and Corning researchers have achieved transmission at that speed over a single fiber on an optically amplified 580km link. Now, this was not over a production network of course, it was in a lab with EDFA amplifiers sitting between rolls of cable. Over each of 320 wavelengths went a 116Gbps signal. In total, they say that is 25% faster than prior demonstrations, and that it demonstrates the viability of using 25Ghz spacing.
Well, so this wasn’t so much about speed of a particular connection, it was more about just how much you can stuff down a single fiber. Progress in this area will therefore help enable existing fiber infrastructures to handle the bandwidth growth of the future. I say ‘help’ because really this isn’t the stumbling block at the moment unless you are short on fiber and cost makes it prohibitive to add more. Undersea cables come to mind. On land, the ability of existing fiber and empty conduit is plenty sufficient, the problem is managing networks with that much traffic using large enough pipes to keep operational requirements sane. That and building the on-ramps to feed it of course.
For that we need commercially viable 100G and whatever comes after that. Nevertheless, 32Tbps over a single fiber is impressive!
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