Suddenly, 4G Feels Slow

Researchers at University College London successfully transferred data over an optical transmission system at a rate of 1.125 Tb/s. That’s over ten times as fast as typical commercial¬†optical systems, and thousands of times faster than the standard broadband connection. The study appeared in¬†Scientific Reports and takes advantage of encoding techniques usually seen in wireless systems.

The prototype system uses fifteen channels on different wavelengths. Each channel used 256QAM encoding (the same as you see on cable modems, among other things). A single receiver recovers all of the channels together. The technology isn’t commercially available yet. It is worth noting that the experiment used a transmitter and receiver very close to each other. Future tests will examine how the system performs when there are hundreds or thousands of feet of optical fiber between them.

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