Fiber optic transmission reaches new heights

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Bandwidth junkies rejoice! A group of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, reported in Science earlier this week that they have successfully surpassed the fiber optic transmission capacity limit.

“This advance,” writes the UC San Diego News Center, “has the potential to increase data transmission rates for the fiber optic cables that serve as the backbone of the Internet, cable, wireless and landline networks.”

To be clear, this now means optic signals can be transmitted over longer distances without obstruction, according to BGR. The breakthrough is the result of an optical engineering experiment in which university researchers were able to boost the intensity of the fiber optic signal by 2,000 per cent. Consequently, the optic signals were transmitted over 7,456 miles without any hindrance in quality, a record-breaking achievement.

While high power in optic signals typically provoke interruption, referred to by scientists as “crosstalk”, such conflicts are easily predicted among highly-regarded engineers. Ergo, researchers knew just when to reverse the signal as it approached its target.

Nikola Alic, one of the researchers who partook in the study, described its significance in a published report:

Today’s fiber optic systems are a little like quicksand. With quicksand, the more you struggle, the faster you sink. With fiber optics, after a certain point, the more power you add to the signal, the more distortion you get, in effect preventing a longer reach. Our approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fiber without needing a repeater.

Still, while this is a crucial accomplishment to ensure the eternality of the World Wide Web, there’s a lot more room for improvement that will need to be addressed before introducing this advancement to the everyday Internet user. On the bright side, this could mean a great deal for the future of data transmission speeds in relation to service pricing over the next several years.