updated 03:05 pm EDT, Fri March 16, 2012
Tecnology doubles speed without replacing fiber
Chinese Telecommunications equipment maker ZTE has successfully field demonstrated the ability to send data over a single fiber optic cable at aggregated speeds of 1.7Tb/s (Terabits). The accomplishment could foreshadow backbone optical networks running at speeds of 200Gbps. Currently the fastest commercial networks providing support for the Internet operate at 100Gb/s.
To accomplish this performance, ZTE used a technique known as QPSK (quadrature phase-shift keying). QPSK takes strand of fiber optic cable and sends multiple waves of light over it simultaneously by shifting the phasing of each signal. In ZTE's experiment, the company was able to multiplex eight 216Gb/s data streams and send them over 1,750km of fiber optics. This represents a 25 percent increase in how the light spectrum is being used. It also equates to improvements in how efficiently the light waves can be transmitted.
ZTE believes that the new technology will enable carriers to increase the speed at which data is sent over their network from 100Gb/s to 200Gb/s without having to replace their existing fiber infrastructure, which would represent an enormous investment.