Creating the Petabit age - Researchers combine software-defined networking with new multicore fiber technologies

10/09/2013 - 00:00

Some interesting experiments in fiber optics could dramatically improve the data rates of our backbone internet networks. Researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan said on Tuesday that they have successfully demonstrated a multicore fiber network controlled via software-defined networking (SDN).

In Japan, a group led by NTT recently built a 450 km (280 mile) section of fiber using 12 cores in two rings capable of transmitting 409 Tb/s in either direction. That’s 818 Tb/s in total – within spitting distance of seemingly mythical Petabit speeds. What the Bristol-NICT group has accomplished is creating a software-based control element that can manage those enormous capacities.