NICT, Bell Labs, and Prysmian Showcase 1 Petabit Optical Transmission


Researchers from Japan-based NICT (National Institute of Information and Communication Technology), Nokia Bell Labs, and Prysmian Group had demonstrated the transmission of 1 petabit per second over a multimode fiber. This is the highest transmission rate achieved on a single-core multimode optical fiber.

This world record in the optical transmission surpasses the existing record data rate in multimode fibers by more than 2.5 times. Researchers used wideband optical transmission with 15 modes, which was achieved by mode multiplexers and a transmission fiber optimized for high optical bandwidth. The experiment demonstrates advanced high-density and large capacity transmission in optical fibers that can be produced with existing standard methods.

How much is 1 Petabit per second?

Petabits per second is one of the units used for expressing higher data transmision speeds bits per second. The smallest unit of petabit per second is the bits per second. Bits per second is the standard unit of bit rate speed. In telecommunication, bit rate is the number of bits that are  processed per unit of time, that is second. The bit rate is expressed in the unit bits per second often written as bit/s. 1 bit per second is 1/8th Byte per second. In computer and digital communication, one byte per seond corresponds to 8 bits per second.

You might have heard about your internet speed 100 Mbps, i.e., 100 Megabits per second. 1 Megabits per seconds is equal to 1 million bits per second. 1 Billion bits per second is equal to 1 Gigabits per second. 1 trillion bits per second is 1 Terabit per second, and 1 Quadrillion bits per second is 1 Petabit per second. This is a huge amount of data!

What Did the Research team Do?

Currently, transmission experiments in optical fibers supporting large number of modes was limited to small optical bandwidths. In the new study by the research team demonstrated the possibility of combining highly spectral efficient wideband optical transmission with an optical fiber guiding 15 fiber modes that had a cladding diameter in agreement with the current industry standard of 0.125 mm (125 micrometers).  This was enabled by mode multiplexers and an optical fiber that supported wideband transmission of more than 80 nm over a distance of 23 kilometers.

The study highlights the large potential of single-core multimode fibers for high capacity transmission using fiber manufacturing processes similar to those used in the production of standard multi-mode fibers.

Multimode optical fiber was made by Prysmian, and mode multiplexers were developed by Bell Labs. A wideband transceiver subsystem was developed at NICT to transmit and receive several hundred highly spectral efficient WDM channels of high signal quality. The novel mode multiplexers were based on a multi-plane light conversion process where the light of 15 input fibers was reflected multiple times on a phase plate to match the modes of the transmission fiber.

The multimode optical fiber was 23 km long as stated above, and had a graded-index design. The fiber was based on existing multimode fiber designs that were optimized for wideband operation and had a cladding diameter of125 micrometer and a coating diameter of 245 micrometers. Both these physical parameters are as per the the current industry standard. The transmission system demonstrated the first transmission exceeding 1 petabit per second in a multi-mode fiber increasing the current record demonstration by a factor of 2.5.

Full article can be found at World’s First Successful Transmission of 1 Petabit per Second Using a Single-core Multimode Optical Fiber

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