Fiber optic internet: Up to 4,5 million times faster thanks to E-band

Aston University in Birmingham (UK) has announced that a research project has succeeded in using existing fiber optic connections to send up to 301 terabits per second. Compared to the British provider Ofcom's average of 69,4 megabits per second, this is a 4,5 million-fold increase in data rate. This extreme increase in data speeds was achieved by using shorter light wavelengths with higher frequencies as well as two newly developed devices, an optical amplifier and an optical gain balancer - both of which are intended to compensate for the weaknesses of the E-band used to ensure stable data transmission.

By using light wavelengths with higher frequencies, a research project made it possible to send up to 301 terabits per second over fiber optic connections. New amplifier technology makes this possible without major data loss.
By using light wavelengths with higher frequencies, a research project made it possible to send up to 301 terabits per second over fiber optic connections. New amplifier technology makes this possible without major data loss.

Comparison of C and L bands with the fast E band

Currently, wavelengths and frequencies on the C and L bands are primarily used for fiber optic connections. The C band takes its name from “Conventional” and offers light wavelengths from 1.530 to 1.565 nanometers. The L-band, which takes its name from “long,” i.e. longer wavelengths, offers 1.565 to 1.625 nanometers. These two areas are used because they are not as susceptible to data loss over long distances. There are more losses in the shorter S-band alone, and the E- and O-bands are even shorter.

The E-band (“Extended”) now used by researchers at Aston University offers wavelengths of 1.360 to 1.460 nanometers. This doesn't seem like a big difference, but it does allow for higher frequencies for faster data exchange. Whatever the name, the shorter, higher frequency wavelengths are significantly more susceptible to data loss and therefore require a smooth passage through the fiber optic cables. Curvatures, high temperature differences or even ingress of foreign substances (such as seawater molecules in submarine cables) can quickly lead to transmission errors in the E-band, while the C-band can withstand these factors to a certain extent.

Fiberglass tapes Origin of name Wavelengths (Nm)
O band Original 1.260 – 1.360
E-band Extended 1.360 – 1.460
S-Band Shorts 1.460 – 1.530
C-Band Conventional 1.530 – 1.565
L band Long 1.565 – 1.625
U band Ultra long 1.625 – 1.675

Perhaps no new developments are necessary for the future of data transmission

The successful transmission of up to 301 terabits per second comes from research by Professor Wladek Forysiak of the Aston Institute for Photonic Technologies and Dr. Ian Phillips emerged. She and her team worked with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan and Nokia Bell Labs in the USA. If the additional devices developed, i.e. the optical amplifier and the optical gain equalizer, turn out to be suitable for everyday use in existing fiber optic networks, then they could reliably transmit the future amounts of data on the Internet - without the development and distribution of completely new technologies.

As part of the research, the data was sent in a conventional network, which is already used today for use at home or in business. “However, in addition to the commercially available C and L bands, we used two additional spectral bands, the E band and the S band“, explains Dr. Phillips on top of that. “These bands have traditionally not been needed as the C and L bands could provide the required capacity for consumer needs.It is also stated that before the development of new technologies, no one was able to use the E-band wavelengths in a controlled manner. But now this is possible.

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2 comments on “Fiber optic internet: up to 4,5 million times faster thanks to E-band”

  1. 4,5 million faster.
    And which device can process this?
    What use is it that the data goes from a to b at lightning speed and then doesn't get there?

    1. Johannes Domke

      Hi Dieter,

      What use was the development of the car when the roads were not designed for it, there were no traffic lights and nobody had a driving license?

      The fact that existing fiber optic lines can be used with a significantly higher data throughput thanks to new developments shows that they are future-proof. The trend is towards higher data volumes, ever faster connections and ever larger amounts of data that are to be exchanged on an ad hoc basis.

      4,5 million as a factor is an enormous number, of course. But this does not have to be exhausted, nor does it have to be able to serve the status quo of technology. It is important that future developments can build on this.

      Best regards

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