Imagine if all the data traveling throughout the world right now—on long distance networks and between and within computers and other hardware—could be sent through a single fiber the width of a human hair.
The University of California at Santa Barbara had a presentation on the vision and current research being performed under a newly launched center at UCSB, whose mission is to make this a reality by developing technologies necessary for a new generation of Ethernet a thousand times faster, and much more energy efficient than the most advanced networks being deployed today. The Terabit Optical Ethernet Center (TOEC) has as its vision and roadmap 1 Terabit Ethernet over optical fiber by 2015 and 100 Terabit Ethernet by 2020. Ethernet, the way computers talk to each other over a network and first implemented in the 1980s, has become the standard for data transmission for all networks from small-scale to global-scale. Current Ethernet technologies will be difficult to push much past 100 Gigabits per second without new innovations, predominately because of the amount of power needed to run and cool the systems. Large data centers and communications networks consume as much power as a small city requiring new generations of Ethernet that are much more energy-efficient and cost-effective. In as little as five years today’s state of the art Ethernet will have trouble keeping up with the speed and bandwidth required for applications like video and cloud computing. The Center’s goal is to develop energy-saving photonic network technologies that will allow applications and the underlying networks to scale way beyond today’s capacity, paving the way for greening future networks and the systems. Current research efforts and recent results in photonic integration geared towards Terabit Optical Ethernet will be described in this talk as well as the driving applications and the structure of TOEC.