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Tuesday, 24 May 2011 09:44

German boffins create data transfer speed record

Written by Nick Farell


Faster than a speeding bullet
German boffins have created a new speed record for data using fibre-optic cable.

Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany packed up 26 terabits of data and stuffed it down an optical fibre in one second. According to the journal Nature Phonetics which we bought thinking it was a nudist magazine,  Wolfgang Freude used a 'fast Fourier transform' to separate more than 300 colours of light in a laser beam, each encoded with its own string of information.

Early optical fibre technologies encoded data as 'wiggles' within a single colour of light but in recent years a number of other methods have been used to increase speeds. The method used by the German researchers was called 'orthogonal frequency division multiplexing', for example, uses a number of lasers to encode strings of data on different colours of light then sends them through the fibre together. At the receiving end, another set of laser oscillators is used to reverse the process. Using this method the rate at which date can be transferred is limited only by the number of lasers used, the study said.

Nick Farell

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