TechRevolutionizing internet: Scientists develop world's fastest fiber optic with staggering 1.7 Pbit/s speed

Revolutionizing internet: Scientists develop world's fastest fiber optic with staggering 1.7 Pbit/s speed

Fiber optic
Fiber optic
Images source: © Adobe Stock
9:25 AM EST, January 15, 2024

This fiber optic is undoubtedly the world's fastest, enabling transfers at a staggering 1.7 Pbit/s. This speed is approximately 1.7 million times faster than a typical gigabit connection. Notably, this impressive result wasn't achieved over a short, test distance – the fiber optic stretched over 41.6 miles.

The world's fastest fiber optic

This fiber optic, a collaborative effort of scientists from Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy, comprises 19 cores and a glass chip. This combination enables such high speeds and concurrently very low losses. With fewer cores, as the scientists explained, the light loss is excessive, resulting in a direct decrease in the fiber optic's efficacy.

Despite its high speed, the fiber optic under discussion is incredibly thin – scientists state it's as thin as a single human hair. This also holds true for other fiber optics connecting continents, data centers, and ground stations.

A long journey

Interestingly, the first submarine fiber optic, installed in 1988, had a capacity of a mere 20 Mbit/s. Presently, superior fiber optics like Grace Hopper's 2022 iteration, offer transfers at an impressive rate of 22 Tbit/s on each of the 16 pairs of wires, resulting in a total capacity of 352 Tbit/s (still almost five times less than the fiber optic being discussed).

Scientists have persistently strived to amplify the capacity of fiber optics. An idea was to increase the thickness of the wires, but this compromised their flexibility and durability and would demand a complete overhaul of the whole fiber optic infrastructure. Another notion was to increase the number of wires, but this inflated the costs. Consequently, scientists have now opted to increase the number of cores in the fiber optic without augmenting its diameter – a revolutionary and pioneering solution.

For the moment, scientists have confirmed that it is indeed feasible to fabricate a fiber optic with such properties. They, however, don't intend to stop here and express confidence that this technology will be implemented in real submarine connections within the next decade, if not earlier.

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