A single chip managed to transfer more than a petabit per second according to research by a team of scientists from universities in Denmark, Sweden and Japan. That’s over one million gigabits of data per second over a fiber optic cable, or essentially the entire internet’s worth of traffic.
The researchers—AA Jørgensen, D. Kong, LK Oxenløwe—and their team successfully demonstrated data transmission of 1.84 petabits over a 7.9km fiber cable using just one chip. That’s not as fast as some other alternatives with larger, thicker systems that have reached up to 10.66 petabits, but the key here is scale: the proposed system is very compact.
By dividing a data stream into 37 sections, one for each core of a fiber optic cable, and then further dividing each of those streams into 223 channels, the researchers were able to eliminate a large amount of interference that slows down optical systems and therefore deliver. the internet’s worth of data transmission using a single chip.
“You could say that the average internet traffic in the world is about a petabit per second. What we transmit is twice that,” Jørgensen says in a commentary for New Scientist. (opens in a new tab). “It’s an incredibly large amount of data that we’re sending, basically, less than a square millimeter. [of cable]. It just shows that we can go much further than we are today with internet connections.”
The researchers also theorize that such a system could support speeds of up to 100 petabits per second in massively parallel systems.
The research paper (opens in a new tab) relies on a bank of research on the concept of a single chip solution across multiple researchers and papers, including one by researchers in Australia called “Ultra-dense optical data transmission over standard fiber with a single chip source. (opens in a new tab)‘. trap
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Essentially, high-speed data transmission that often requires fiber optic cable and bulky equipment is now miniaturized into a smaller on-chip package. Instead of multiple lasers in parallel, which comes with its own set of challenges, it is possible to shrink much of this equipment down to the silicon level. And with that even remove some difficulties to send massive data packets long distances and at high speeds.
A large part of these new breakthroughs are microcombs, which are a way to generate constant and measurable frequencies of light. These are not only useful in reducing the requirements for a system like this, but have also recently seen success when added to CMOS chips. (opens in a new tab).
In fact, much more could be added to a CMOS chip to make this whole system even more integrated, says Jørgensen. So if this seems fast and compact now, it’s only a matter of time before an even more integrated, faster version is developed. Stack more of these devices into a single parallel system and you’re talking mega-bandwidth from a single server rack.
Basically, the internet has a lot more room to grow.