IBM debuts prototype terabit optical chip “Holey Optochip”

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IBM debuts prototype terabit optical chip “Holey Optochip”

Cliff Saran

Researchers at IBM have invented a prototype optical chipset they claim can transfer one trillion bits of information per second.

According to IBM, the optical networking chipset, dubbed “Holey Optochip”, offers the potential to improve data transfer rates by speeding the flow of data using light pulses, instead of sending electrons over wires.

IBM claims the Holey Optochip is eight times faster than parallel optical components available today. It said the speed of one transceiver is equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users with 10Mbps high-speed internet access. “It would take just around an hour to transfer the entire US Library of Congress web archive through the transceiver.”

Clint Schow, optical links group manager at IBM, said: “We have been actively pursuing higher levels of integration, power efficiency and performance for all the optical components through packaging and circuit innovations. We aim to improve on the technology for commercialisation in the next decade with the collaboration of manufacturing partners.”

Networks equipment manufacturer Huawei is attempting to push the boundaries of optical technology with a prototype device that uses optical burst technology to provide flexible non-blocking switching of multi-granularity services. 

Huawei claimed its prototype 10 petabit (10,000 terabits) all-optical switch prototype provides simultaneous high-resolution 3D interactions among 100 million people, as well as simultaneous voice services for billions of people.

Optical networking offers the potential to significantly improve data transfer rates by speeding the flow of data using light pulses, instead of sending electrons over wires.


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