An industrial research collaboration between scientists and engineers from Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany have found a way to pack more data into existing internet cables to ramp up speeds to 40 Tb per second – fast enough to download 5,000 Standard Definition Netflix films in a second.
The internet is currently reaching a limit in performance and power efficiency. As the number of interconnected devices and rich content like Netflix and Facetime, as well as driverless cars, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things (IoT), become more ubiquitous, the net will effectively grind to a halt if we take no proactive steps to free up and manage internet traffic through the ever-expanding number of datacentres around the world.
Instead of digging up roads and laying new optical fibres, the pan-European collaboration between the fast-growing start-up company Pilot Photonics and the European photonics innovation incubator ACTPHAST 4.0, has set out to tackle this impasse. Developing a new way of splitting up light channels, the consortium has found a way to deliver more information inside and between data centres.
Instead of using a single channel, the team use multiple wavelengths to deliver information – all on a single Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC). Integrated circuits (ICs), or microchips, traditionally work with electronics and are used in many technologies today from smartphones to computers. PICs, however, use photonics or light-based technology and can deliver much higher bandwidth in a power-efficient manner.
With ACTPHAST 4.0 onboard to enable quick and subsidised access to cutting-edge PIC technology expertise, Pilot Photonics is developing this next generation solution of its core optical comb technology as a single integrated chip targeting mass-market adoption.
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