Better, faster, further

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Better, faster, further
Better, faster, further

Better, faster, further…

Particularly with regard to the further development of the Internet, it is becoming more and more important how quickly and what amounts of data can be transmitted. Now, for the first time, it has been possible to achieve a transmission rate of one terabit per second over a longer distance in a single fiber optic strand. A little less than a year ago, an ultra-wideband fiber optic amplifier was introduced by Bell Laboratories. With this experimental amplifier, signals could now be transmitted at a rate of 10 gigabits per second on each of 100 wavelengths. Such amounts of data have already been obtained in various experiments over the past two years. The difference to the latest attempt is that the data transfer has so far only taken place over relatively short distances. But now 400 kilometers have been covered, about three times the distance of previous successful transmissions.

The technical description of these experiments was presented by scientists from Bell Laboratories at the end of February 1998 during the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) conference in San Jose. Yan Sun and Atul Srivistana of the Bell Labs Photonic Networks Research Department presented the experimental system based on True Wave(r) fiber developed by Lucent's Network Products Group. True Wave represents the first optical fiber specifically designed for multi-wavelength transmission.

A system based on the new technology would be able to handle all current Internet traffic over a single optical fiber. Rapid advances within the telecommunications industry, driven by a continued growth in Internet usage, have increased the need for high-performance optical systems based on wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology. WDM transmits voice, video and other data in the form of light pulses over multiple wavelengths. Bell Laboratories' experimental system is capable of providing nearly seven times the optical bandwidth of previous commercial WDM systems.

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