IBM to assist telecoms to improve Internet speeds to 400 Gbps at low power

IBM innovation will assist the telecom industry to improve Internet speeds to 200 – 400 Gigabits per second (Gbps) at low power.

In a statement, IBM said the improvement in Internet speed is based on a device that can be used to improve transferring Big Data between clouds and data centers four times faster than current technology.

At this speed 160 Gigabytes, the equivalent of a two-hour, 4K ultra-high definition movie or 40,000 songs, could be downloaded in only a few seconds. The device was presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

IBM admitted that this latest technology is only a lab prototype.

The company has licensed the previous version of the design to Semtech, a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, which will use the technology to develop advanced communications platforms expected to be announced later this year.

The IBM innovation will assist the industry to benefit from big data.

As Big Data and Internet traffic continues to grow exponentially, future networking standards have to support higher data rates. For example, in 1992, 100 Gigabyte of data was transferred per day, whereas today, traffic has grown to two Exabytes per day, a 20 million fold increase.

Online search engine Google is reportedly working on offering data transfer speeds of 10 gigabits per second as part of its project to develop next generation of the internet.

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To support the increase in traffic, scientists at IBM Research and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have been developing energy efficient analog-to-digital converter (ADC) technology to enable digital equalization across long-distance fiber channels.

An ADC converts analog signals to digital, approximating the right combination of zeros and ones to digitally represent the data so it can be stored on computers and analyzed for patterns and predictive outcomes.

IBM scientists will use ADCs to convert the analog radio signals that originate from the Big Bang 13 billion years ago to digital. It’s part of a collaboration called Dome between ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, DOME-South Africa and IBM to develop a IT roadmap for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a project to build the sensitive radio telescope.

The radio data that the SKA collects from deep space is expected to produce 10 times the global internet traffic and the prototype ADC would be an ideal candidate to transport the signals fast and at very low power — a critical requirement considering the thousands of antennas which will be spread over 3,000 kilometers.

The 64 GS/s (giga-samples per second) chips for Semtech will be manufactured at IBM’s 300mm fab in East Fishkill, New York in a 32 nanometer silicon-on-insulator CMOS process and has an area of 5 mm2. This core includes a wide tuning millimeter wave synthesizer enabling the core to tune from 42 to 68 GS/s per channel with a nominal jitter value of 45 femtoseconds root mean square. The full dual-channel 2×64 GS/s ADC core generates 128 billion analog-to-digital conversions per second, with a total power consumption of 2.1 Watts.

Currently, Google Fiber service offers data speeds of 1 gigabit per second, and the search giant is working on technology to provide faster data transfer speeds.

Google’s chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, said that the project was part of the search giant’s broader, long-term obsession with speed, USA Today reports.

editor@telecomlead.com