In a dramatic breakthrough, scientists have learned how to use optical fiber to transmit data over a single laser at speeds that dwarf even today’s fastest Internet connections.
Using techniques called “fast Fourier transform” and “orthogonal frequency division multiplexing,” scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany were able to stitch 300 individual data streams into colors beamed by a single laser, which were then picked apart at the other end.
The result of their experiment was a blazing fast transfer rate of 26 terabytes per second.
A terabyte is the equivalent of 1,000 gigabytes — the measurement used to grade most consumer level computer hard drives.
A more complex version of the experiment was previously used to demonstrate the transmission of data at over 100 terabytes per second, but it required hundreds of lasers.
This latest research shows that similar speeds are possible with far less energy output.
Such bandwidth would enable an Internet user to download the entire library of congress in about 10 seconds, according to the BBC.
The experiment was outlined in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature Photonics.
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