ULC Sets New Data Transfer Record at 1000 Gbps

September 18, 2016

road[Image Source: Peter Gorges]

ULC recently set the record for the fastest data transfer at over 1000Gbps, over 1000 times faster than Google Fiber.

UCL researchers from Optical Networks Group developed a system which set a new world record for the fastest data transfer at 1.125 Tb/s. The team was lead by head researcher, Dr. Robert Maher, UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineer. The team is actively attempting to develop systems to address the increasing demand for increasingly faster data rates, a goal which they recently smashed with their new technique.

“We are working with sophisticated equipment in our lab to design the next generation core networking and communications systems that can handle data signals at rates in excess of 1 terabit per second (Tb/s). For comparison this is almost 50,000 times greater than the average speed of a UK broadband connection of 24 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is the current speed defining “superfast” broadband. To give an example, the data rate we have achieved would allow the entire HD Games of Thrones series to be downloaded within one second.”

Says Maher.

The conclusive study was published in Nature, discussing the unique technology implemented to achieve such remarkable speeds. By using techniques commonly utilized for transfers in wireless communications, the team implemented the idea into their optical system.  The system relies on 15 channels, each of which carries wavelengths of varying frequencies. The signals are them modulated through a 256QAM format, a technique generally used in cable modems which combine the signals which are then transmitted to be detected by a singular optical receiver. Combining the channels creates a so-called ‘super channel’ in which enables the massive data transfers. While the technique is currently not commercially viable, ULC believes it will pave the way for future communication systems which can operate at significantly higher capacities.

“Using high-bandwidth super-receivers enables us to receive an entire super-channel in one go. Super-channels are becoming increasingly important for core optical communications systems, which transfer bulk data flows between large cities, countries or even continents. However, using a single receiver varies the levels of performance of each optical sub-channel so we had to finely optimise both the modulation format and code rate for each optical channel individually to maximise the net information data rate. This ultimately resulted in us achieving the greatest information rate ever recorded using a single receiver,”
While other studies have successfully transferred upwards of 10 Tb per second, this study offered a completely different solution by connecting the transmitter directly to the receiver, enabling massive data transfers through a single receiver rather than the complexity of utilizing multiple which essentially bottlenecks the speed. Further studies are being conducted to determine the data transfer rates which can be achieved over long distances using the same technique.

SEE ALSO: CERN Released 300 TB of Raw Data for Anyone to See