Foto: Colourbox

World data transfer record back in Danish hands


Researchers at DTU Fotonik have reclaimed the world data transfer record.

The world champions in data transmission are to be found in Lynbgy, where the High-Speed Optical Communications (HSOC) team at DTU Fotonik has just secured yet another world record. This time, the team has eclipsed the record that was set by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie, by proving that it is possible to transfer fully 43 terabits per second with just a single laser in the transmitter. This is an appreciable improvement on the German team’s previous record of 26 terabits per second.

The worldwide competition in data speed is contributing to developing the technology intended to accommodate the immense growth of data traffic on the internet, which is estimated to be growing by 40–50 per cent annually. What is more, emissions linked to the total energy consumption of the internet as a whole currently correspond to more than two per cent of the global man-made carbon emissions—which puts the internet on a par with the transport industry (aircraft, shipping etc.). However, these other industries are not growing by 40 per cent a year. It is therefore essential to identify solutions for the internet that make significant reductions in energy consumption while simultaneously expanding the bandwidth. This is precisely what the DTU team has demonstrated with its latest world record. DTU researchers have previously helped achieve the highest combined data transmission speed in the world—an incredible 1 petabit per second—although this involved using hundreds of lasers.

The researchers achieved their latest record by using a new type of optical fibre borrowed from the Japanese telecoms giant NTT. This type of fibre contains seven cores (glass threads) instead of the single core used in standard fibres, which makes it possible to transfer even more data. Despite the fact that it comprises seven cores, the new fibre does not take up any more space than the standard version.

The researchers’ record result has been verified and presented in what is known as a ‘post deadline paper’ at the CLEO 2014 international conference.

The High-Speed Optical Communications team at DTU Fotonik has held the world record in data transmission on numerous occasions. Back in 2009, these researchers were the first in the world to break the ‘terabit barrier’, which was considered an almost insurmountable challenge at that time, when they succeeded in transmitting more than 1 terabit per second—again using just a single laser. The benchmark has now been raised to 43 Tbit/s.

Milestones in DTU’s high-speed research

March 2009:

The High-Speed Optical Communications (HSOC) team at DTU Fotonik breaks the terabit barrier.

October 2009:

Researchers from DTU Fotonik set a new world record by transferring 5.1 terabits per second.


Researchers from DTU Fotonik set a new record by transferring 9.5 terabits per second.


DTU Fotonik breaks the world record yet again, transmitting 43 terabits per second.