New Multicore Optical Fiber allows for 21 times more bandwidth

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands and the University of Central Florida (CREOL) in the USA, have successfully transmitted at a record high 255 Terabits per second over a new type of fiber allowing 21 times more bandwidth than currently available in communication networks. This new type of fiber could be an answer to mitigating the impending optical transmission capacity crunch caused by the increasing bandwidth demand.

The new fibre has seven different cores through which the light can travel, instead of one in current state-of-the-art fibres. This compares to going from a one-way road to a seven-lane highway. Also, they introduce two additional orthogonal dimensions for data transportation – as if three cars can drive on top of each other in the same lane. Combining those two methods, they achieve a gross transmission throughput of 255 Terabits per second over the fibre link. This is more than 20 times the current standard of 4-8 Terabits per second.

Few-mode multicore fibre characteristics

Nature Photonics – Ultra-high-density spatial division multiplexing with a few-mode multicore fibre

At less than 200 microns in diameter, this fiber does not take noticeably more space than conventional fibres already deployed.

They definitely give the possibility of achieve Petabits per second transmission by 2020.


Single-mode fibres with low loss and a large transmission bandwidth are a key enabler for long-haul high-speed optical communication and form the backbone of our information-driven society. However, we are on the verge of reaching the fundamental limit of single-mode fibre transmission capacity. Therefore, a new means to increase the transmission capacity of optical fibre is essential to avoid a capacity crunch. Here, by employing few-mode multicore fibre, compact three-dimensional waveguide multiplexers and energy-efficient frequency-domain multiple-input multiple-output equalization, we demonstrate the viability of spatial multiplexing to reach a data rate of 5.1  Tbit s−1 carrier−1 (net 4 Tbit s−1 carrier−1) on a single wavelength over a single fibre. Furthermore, by combining this approach with wavelength division multiplexing with 50 wavelength carriers on a dense 50 GHz grid, a gross transmission throughput of 255 Tbit s−1 (net 200 Tbit s−1) over a 1 km fibre link is achieved.