Scientists at IBM set a new speed record for big data that they say will improve Internet speeds to 200 - 400 Gb/s and do it at low power. What’s accounting for the boost? A device -- a lab prototype at this point -- was presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC). It improves transferring big data between the datacenter and the cloud 4x faster than is currently possible, enabling 160 Gigabytes to be downloaded in a few seconds. Think of the implications.
So, you have all of this speed, but now what? To support the traffic boom, IBM Research and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) are developing ultra-fast and energy efficient ADC technology to ensure complex digital equalization across long-distance fiber channels.
The example that IBM gives is the hundreds of thousands of ADCs that will be used to convert analog radio signals that originate from the Big Bang 13 billion years ago to digital -- part of a collaboration called Dome between ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, DOME-South Africa, and IBM to build the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope.
The radio data collected from deep space should produce 10x times the global internet traffic and this prototype ADC would be an ideal candidate to transport the signals fast and at very low power. The project will involve thousands of antennas spread over 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles), hence the low-power requirement. This is just one example.
A previous iteration of the device was licensed to Semtech Corp, and the companies are delivering the first generation ADC to market within 12 months of development and test. Semtech is using technology for optical, wireline, and advanced radar products. In addition to high-performance communications systems such as 400 Gb/s Optical and advanced radar, Semtech sees applications in existing RF communications where high-speed digital logic is replacing less flexible analog circuitry.
Details for the latest ADC were published in a paper with the EPFL and presented at ISSCC.
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline
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