New fiber optic cable approaches speed of light transfer speeds

Credit: Kavlen Enerji

Fiber optic cable is fast — faster than any of the alternatives available. That is, unless you happen to work at the University of Southampton in the UK. There, researchers have developed a new hollow fiber optic cable filled with air that can achieve truly mind-boggling speeds (99.7 percent of the speed of light) when compared to good old silica glass.

What kind of speeds? How about 10 terabytes per second. That's right, 10 terabytes per second. That's 1,000 times faster than the best fiber optic cables on the market, which top out at around five gigabytes per second.

You may actually have heard of hollow fiber optic cables before. The idea has been around for a while, but has always struggled with data loss when the cables had to turn corners. It's this hurdle that the researchers at the University of Southampton have finally cleared, reducing data loss to 3.5dB/km. However, don't expect to start getting speeds anywhere near 10TB per second anytime soon in your home. These blistering fiber optic cables will mostly be used in data centers with racks of supercomputers first.

Nature, via Engadget

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