The chip can transmit all internet traffic every second

The chip can transmit all internet traffic every second

Spread the love

Splitting data into a spectrum of color packets allowed a single computer chip to transmit a record 1.84 petabits of data per second over a fiber optic cable


October 20, 2022

Much more data could be sent over fiber optic cables if they were split into different packets within each strand


A single computer chip transmitted a record 1.84 petabits of data per second over a fiber optic cable – enough bandwidth to download 230 million photographs during that time, and more traffic than that per second across the entire Internet backbone network.

Asbjørn Arvad Jørgensen of the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen and his colleagues used a photonics chip – a technology that allows optical components to be built on computer chips – to split a data stream into thousands of separate channels and transmit them all at a time for 7.9 kilometers.

First, the team split the data stream into 37 sections, each of which was sent over a separate core of the fiber optic cable. Then each of these channels was divided into 223 blocks of data that existed in individual slices of the electromagnetic spectrum. This “frequency comb” of equidistant light spikes across the spectrum allowed data to be transmitted in different colors at the same time without interfering with each other, massively increasing the capacity of each core.

Although data transfer rates of up to 10.66 petabits per second were achieved before large equipment was used, this research sets a record for transmission using a single computer chip as the light source. The technology could enable the creation of simple, single chips capable of sending far more data than existing designs, thereby reducing energy costs and increasing bandwidth.

The amount of data sent into the experiment was so vast that there is no computer capable of providing or receiving so much information so quickly. In experiments, the team instead transmitted “dummy data” through all the channels, Jørgensen explains, and tested the output one channel at a time to verify that everything was sent and could be retrieved intact.

“You could say that the average internet traffic in the world is around one petabit per second. What we transmit is double that,” says Jørgensen. one square millimeter [of cable]. It just shows that we can go much further than today with internet connections.

The chip needs a single laser, continuously shining, divided into several frequencies, as well as separate devices to encode the data in each of the output streams. But Jørgensen says these could be integrated on the chip itself, making the whole device the size of a matchbox.

Current devices for sending data using a single laser in a single slice of spectrum have been miniaturized to around this size, and Jørgensen says that if the team’s device were built to the size of a small server, it would could transmit as much data as 8251 matchbox medium-sized devices currently do – one for each channel the team managed to send over a single cable.

Journal reference: NatureDOI: 10.1038/s41566-022-01082-z

Learn more about these topics:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.