How many bits of data can be crammed onto a single optical fiber? About 150 terabits per second per fiber, according to Partha P. Mitra, a physicist and researcher at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories. "Currently, the maximum amount of data we send is around two terabits per second," says Mitra. He and researcher Jason Stark conducted experiments and report that, at a certain point, increasing signal capacity will not increase information transmission capacity. "We found that instead of output rising as the signal increases, the capacity peaks," says Mitra. "Beyond that, capacity doesn't increase proportionally to signal strength," he notes. Mitra adds that although there is room to grow our signal capacity, actually transmitting data at that rate will require new components and new de-signs for telecommunication equipment. For more information, call 908-582-2446.
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