NEC breaks long-range speed record with terabit transmission

Could super-fast, cost-effective transoceanic data communications be a thing of the near future?

NEC Corp. recently broke an ultra-long haul Internet speed record, successfully transmitting data at 1.15 terabits/sec over 10,000 kilometers, or 6,213 miles.

The experimental superchannel optical transmission is the first time terabyte data speeds have been achieved using a single laser source over such a distance – a distance long enough to span the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), NEC also combined four superchannels to simultaneously transmit 4 terabits/sec, the company said in a release.

According to Sebastian Anthony in ExtremeTech, the engineers used standard technology to achieve the new speed record. “We’re not entirely sure, but the novel innovation here is probably the use of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) superchannels with optical signals,” he said.

Princeton, N.J.-based NEC Laboratories America conducted the test.

The technology would use the current Internet infrastructure, avoiding the cost and difficulty of laying new oceanic submarine cables. Faster speeds have been transmitted over fiber, but only for short distances. The current state-of-the-art for transoceanic connectivity is between 10 and 100 gigabits/sec per optical fiber.

Upgrading the world’s largest cable, TGN-P, which runs between Japan and the United States, to NEC’s technology would increase the cable’s capacity from 7 terabits/sec to 150 terabits/sec or more, Anthony said.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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