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Researchers from ZTE Break Signal Transmission Capacity Record


Researchers from ZTE set a new capacity record for a certain type of optical fiber link that could be used to connect segments of the internet, as well as connect servers in a datacenter. The team sent 560 gigabits per second over two kilometers of single mode optical fiber used for long-distance links. The goal of this research is to create a low-cost and low-power optical solution that hinges on a combination of modulation techniques, typically used to encode digital data in an analog carrier, like light.

This new display of speed will be presented at the Optical Fiber Communucation Conference and Exhibition which is being held from March 20-24 in Anaheim, California. This research is being done to counteract the heavy traffic that network plagues between servers and datacenters. This issue has been so prevalent over the past few years that an IEEE 400Gb/s Ethernet Task Force has been formed to take the wireless standard up to 400 gigabits per second over the next year. If ZTE’s research proves successful, we will have met that goal ahead of schedule.

“For the existing optical network [used in industry], the modulation format is still On-off keying (OOK), which is impossible to realize 100 gigabits per second or beyond in optical inter-connection due to devices’ bandwidth limitation,” said Fan Li, primary author and scientist, ZTE USA, Inc. On-off keying refers to the simplest form of amplitude modulation that represents digital data as the presence (binary one) or absence (binary zero) of the signal.

Sending data over optical cables, as opposed to traditional coax cables or copper wires, can achieve much higher data densities and longer distances. Moreover, optical links are unaffected by electromagnetic interference and consume less power, which is becoming increasingly important as data rates continue to rise. However, the standards for encoding data in optical signals will need to evolve in order to meet increased demand for bandwidth hungry applications.

“400 gigabits per second is the next generation transmission speed for optical inter-connection. It’s the first time we realize 560 gigabits per second signal transmission with OFDM technology,” Li said.

Li explained that their scheme adopts a higher level, broadband multicarrier modulation method called Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which transmits multiple data streams over a common broadband medium such as fiber optic cable and offers superior performance such as higher data capacity and faster data transmission speed in a given bandwidth over older, more traditional single-carrier modulation methods.

How does this newer faster standard stack up to the current top 802.11ac solutions? Check out the latest 2016 802.11ac  Wireless Buyer’s Guide and for a side by side comparison of the top vendors.

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