New design could make the Internet 100 times as fast2010.06.30 09:10 by Daniela
A new network design could increase internet speeds by 100 times, by removing the need to convert optical signals to electrical ones.
A group of MIT researchers has demonstrated a new way of organizing optical networks that, in most cases, would eliminate the need for conversion.
Currently, when optical signals coming from different directions reach a router at the same time, they are converted to electrical signals so that the router can store them in memory.
But MIT's approach, called 'flow switching', is claimed to solve this problem. Between locations that exchange large volumes of data — say, Los Angeles and New York City — flow switching would establish a dedicated path across the network.
For certain wavelengths of light, routers along that path would accept signals coming in from only one direction and send them off in only one direction. Since there’s no possibility of signals arriving from multiple directions, there’s never a need to store them in memory.
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