The applications we’re using at home and at the office are growing increasingly data intensive. It used to be that pinging a document around from PC to PC was pretty cool. Now we’re simultaneously streaming music, whilst syncing documents to the cloud and chatting to colleagues or friends over VOIP. Meanwhile, next door, someone’s holding a video conference. Our networks are fast, yet still we spend our days tapping our fingers whilst file transfer progress bars complete. With massive growth in data flying around the network, the question must be asked whether our networks will have enough bandwidth to cope in the future.
Fortunately, a group of researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have asked this question, and what’s more, they’re doing something about it. They’ve established the Terabit Optical Ethernet Center, partnering with a number of industry organisations to use optical fiber to attain transfer speeds of 1 Terabit over Ethernet by 2015, and 100 Terabit by 2020.
According to ZDNet, today’s networking kit is maxing out at 100 Gigabits per second due to the power required to keep the systems cool. Using photonics and high speed integrated optical and electronic circuits is the way forward to create networks that are not only faster, but greener.
The days of waiting for that progress bar to complete may soon be over.