1GB is a for rookies, as scientists break record of data transmission rate at whopping 1.125 Tb/s

How would you like to download a 2GB movie in under 1 second. No, this is not fiction. Scientists at the University College London (UCL) in the Optical Networks Group have set a new record for the fastest ever data transmission rate for digital information between a single transmitter and receiver, by sending data optically at a rate of 1.125 Tb/s (terabits per second).

Lead researcher, Dr Robert Maher, UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering, said in a press release: “While current state-of-the-art commercial optical transmission systems are capable of receiving single channel data rates of up to 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s), 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.”

The study used procedures from digital signal processing and information theory to custom build an optical communications system with multiple transmitting channels and a single receiver. The study will be published today in Scientific Reports.

The researchers built the new optical system using fifteen different channels to send the data, each of them carrying an optical signal of different wavelength. Each channel is separately modulated, and they are all combined, which is then sent to a single optical receiver for detection. The team created a ‘super-channel’ by grouping the channels together. At the other end, a receiver with incredibly high bandwidth makes sense of it all.

“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,” said Dr Robert Maher.

In this study, the researchers directly connected the transmitter to the receiver to get the maximum data rate. For their next experiment, they will need to link the transmitted to the receiver using optical fibres, which will cause the optical signals to become distorted as they travel through thousands of kilometres.

Soon this technology will percolate down to commercial use and we may also be able to enjoy breakneck speeds while surfing Internet or playing online games.

Source: PhysOrg

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