NICT engineers developed a four-core fiber optic cable that can deliver speeds at 319 Tb/s, shattering the previous 178 Tb/s world record. (Image Credit: Denny Muller / Unsplash)


Engineers at the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT) managed to break the 178 Tb/s internet speed record with a 319 Tb/s achievement. The team reached this milestone while maintaining the speed at over 1,865 miles without performance loss.


The 178 Tb/s speed involved using a coupled three-core optical fiber cable, which transmits data along three optical fiber tubes to reduce signal distortion over long distances.  To reach a 319 Tb/s speed, the team used a four-core optical fiber cable utilizing wavelength-division multiplexing. This technology is laser-fired, dividing the signals into 552 channels. Afterward, it gets delivered to the four optical fiber cores.


These light streams are amplified by erbium and thulium-doped fiber amplifiers at 43.5-mile intervals to reduce transmission loss over long distances. Then, Raman amplification occurs after this process.  Even though the entire system is fairly complex, it still results in a large breakthrough. This led to the average data rate per channel reaching approximately 145 GB/s per core and 580 GB/s with all four cores.


The system’s schematic diagram shows the wavelength division multiplexing technology being fired by a comb laser. (Image Credit: NICT)


The huge speed boost also occurred from using the S, C, and L band transmission. Usually, C and L bands are common for data transmission over long distances, but the S-band was deployed as well. Existing regular optical fiber infrastructures can support these speeds, but it needs to undergo some modifications first.


The four-core optical fiber cable was developed with the same diameter as standard single-core optical fiber. This makes it an attractive solution for early SDM fibers in high-throughput, long-distance links, and it can provide mechanical reliability comparable to single-core fibers.


Now, the team hopes to increase the speed and transmission capacity. Additionally, the team plans on extending the transmission range to trans-oceanic distances.


We're poised to see an increase of world records coming out of Japan starting this week. Tokyo Olympics 2021!


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