Sumitomo Electric achieves 10 petabit/s breaking ultra-high transmission record

Created October 19, 2017
News and Business

Company says result will “contribute towards technology that supports post-5G mobile communications”.

KDDI Research and Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) have announced that their successful ultra-high capacity optical fibre transmission experiment has broken the world record for transmission capacity through a single optical fibre (2.15 petabits/second). The group achieved 10.16 petabits/s over multicore optical fibre, which enables 114-space multiplicity.

With a transmission capacity of 10 petabits/second, data for 25,000 Blu-ray disks (50 GB/both sides) would be transmitted in one second, or 100 million people could simultaneously communicate at 100 megabits.

SEI commented, “The mobile communication system after 5G will require innovations both in wireless technologies and in the network and optical fibre transmission technologies that support them. Our new technology would be expected to be a key technology that will support broadband and a low latency mobile communications system after 5G and will provide new experiences and services.”

Future mobile communication systems will require a much greater capacity of optical fibre communication used in backhaul to provide a variety of services, such as IoT and connected devices, securely and safely. In conventional optical fibre (single core, single mode fibre) communication systems, transmission capacity was expanded with multiple wavelength using WDM technology.

Overcoming WDM limitations
However, the transmission capacity is considered to be limited to at most to about 0.1 petabits/second because of the limitation on the launched input power or interference between signals. In recent years, the space division multiplexing (SDM) technology has been evolving worldwide that breaks through this limitation.

SDM technology includes a multicore fibre containing multiple cores in an optical fibre and multimode fibre using multiple transmission modes. One report has shown that capacity was expanded up to 2.15 petabits/second using 22-core fibre that enables 22-spatial multiplicity.

Although the conventional multicore, multimode optical fibres with more than 100-spatial multiplicity had achieved a transmission capacity of 2 petabits/second, the maximum transmission capacity of 10 petabits/second, estimated from (0.1 petabits/second) x spatial multiplicity (100 or more), had not been achieved until the latest SEI experiment.

How they did it
In the experiment, SEI developed a performance-improved multicore, multimode optical fibre and KDDI Research provided signals to evaluate the 10-petabit transmission and then the transmission characteristics with an efficient approach to evaluate all the channels, achieving the record 10.16 petabits/second transmission over 11.3 km.

SEI added that this experiment demonstrates the feasibility of ultra-high capacity optical communication systems of more than 10 petabits/second using multicore, multimode optical fibres: “We will contribute to the development of the optical fibre transmission technologies for future versatile and large capacity data communication including 5G mobile system while assessing the range of applicability of multicore and multimode fibres,” the company announced,

ECOC 2017
The achievement was first reported as a post-deadline paper for ECOC 2017, the largest international conference in Europe on the optical communication technology, held in September 17 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Part of the research is based on the results of the research and development for practical use of innovative optical fibres (i-FREE2) (FY 2013 to FY 2017) at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT).

Matthew Peach

This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.