EU seeks to reduce world’s energy usage, and double data center speeds, by replacing copper with fiber

By Grant Brunner on December 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

Data centers are big and costly. Engineers all over the world are working hard at making servers and networking more efficient. Processors are using less power, cooling is getting easier, and even routers are reducing their footprint. Sadly, data centers are still using a gigantic amount of power, so the European Union is funding a trend away from traditional electrical data connections. Headed by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, project PhoxTroT aims at reducing power consumption by using light-based data connections, while at the same time increasing transfer speeds to two terabits per second (Tbps).

An article from Fraunhofer explains that this four-year project isn’t about reinventing the wheel — optical data transfer is already used around the world. Instead, PhoxTroT will be focused on taking existing technologies, combining them, and refining them into a system that will save money and use less energy while doubling connection speeds. “They will realize the optical transmission on a printed circuit board (‘on-board’), ‘board-to-board’ and also ‘rack-to-rack’. By combining these interfaces, it will also be possible to bridge longer distances within the foreseeable future,” says the article. This isn’t just a dolled-up fiber optic cable — this is taking the technology to the next level by integrating light-based data transfer throughout entire data centers on the individual server level, while increasing the effective range to hundreds of kilometers.

Read more: EU seeks to reduce world’s energy usage, and double data center speeds, by replacing copper with fiber | ExtremeTech.

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