A Bigger Pipe

Many consumers in the U.S. are beginning to enjoy the power of fiber optic data transmissions. This service provides a high bandwidth connection to the Internet, telephone service, and eventually, video entertainment. Companies such as Verizon have made enormous investments to build out the fiber optic network, and hope to challenge traditional cable companies by providing television service, including HDTV content.

As powerful as fiber optic may be, however, there is a limit to how much data can flow across a connection in a given amount of time. That’s why last month’s news from Siemens was so exciting. The company managed to a demonstrate sustained transmission rates of more than 100 Gbits per second over a 100 mile long optical network. This is more that 2.5 times faster than the 40 Gbits per second network that had been installed at the site previously.

As our expectations for high fidelity entertainment and information keep growing, the demands on the infrastructure that delivers the content will also grow rapidly. This means that the servers, routers, networks, and other equipment must also be upgraded to provide the demand for more bandwidth and capacity. Developments such as this one by Siemens means that we are less likely to “fall off a cliff” and run out of the resources to deliver this new world of entertainment and information.