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Innovation boosts the speeds of fiber optic and copper Ethernet connections

By Donna Donnowitz
August 6, 2014

Fiber-optic cables have become the new industry standard for meeting the data transfer needs of big data. Copper to Ethernet solutions are still utilized in infrastructures that are unable to afford full fiber-optic installation - many of these systems utilize fiber to copper converters to achieve maximum speeds across the network. Recent technology has expanded the limitations once placed on both fiber-optics and copper installations.

High-speed copper connections
Researchers at Bell Labs recently revealed a new method to greatly increase transfer speeds over copper cables, according to the BBC. Bell Labs claims to achieved transfer speeds over copper at 10 Gbps and that the same technique would reach 1 Gbps transfer speeds for consumer applications.

Bell Labs engineers in Belgium utilized a new technique to increase copper cable data speeds called XG-Fast. The technology transmits data over a wider frequency than traditional copper cable connections, allowing for faster transfer speeds. However, this technology also limits the range of high-speed copper to Ethernet solutions. Current copper installations are already limited over distance, so the emergence of Bell Lab's latest discovery likely won't upset the dominance of fiber-optic cables.

Revolutionary fiber-optic cables
Extreme Tech reports that another data speed limitation has been defeated, this time over fiber-optic cables. Scientists at the Technical University of Denmark have developed a method to send data at record speeds of 43 terabytes per second.

Previous attempts to boost fiber-optic cable transfer speeds have been achieved by bundling multiple signals over multiple fibers. However, this technique showed limited potential for standard application. The approach introduced by the DTU's research team instead utilizes a single laser over a single, multi-core fiber. DTU smartly arranged the multi-core fiber, so several independent signals can be sent across a single fiber-optic cable without fear of crosstalk.

Extreme Tech notes that DTU's fiber-optic solution will not be available for consumers for some time. Thankfully, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is hard at work developing a 1 Tbps connection for mass standardization. This new standard too will inevitably be surpassed as engineers develop new multi-terabyte solutions in the lab.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extend copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160 km.


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