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"A receiver captures the infrared transmission and transmits it to a fiber optic cable at the other end, which delivers the data to a server."

09/03/2017

Simplest, coolest and cable-free Data Centres via laser data transmission

World leaders in Data Centres are committed to making them more efficient and, at the same time, making the planet a greener place. This time a group of engineers proposes to achieve this goal by eliminating most of the wiring required by the servers with the implementation of infrared optics for communications.

FireFly is an infrared laser transmission system being developed by researchers from Penn State, Carnegie Mellon University and Stony Brook University. They are also supported by the National Science Foundation and could be the technology that allows us to turn this approach into reality.

In the concept, researchers have shown that infrared lasers can be used to send bidirectional data streams (such as a television transmission) at 10 Gb/s in each direction. A receiver captures the infrared transmission and transmits it to a fiber optic cable at the other end, which delivers the data to a server.

In the implementation, the laser transmitters and receivers would be attached to the upper parts of the server structure because the system requires a direct line of sight connection. The transmitter device is equipped with tiny mirrors that can be quickly adjusted to address different receivers connected to different servers.

On the other hand, much of the energy extracted by Data Centres is used to power structures with inactive servers that can not be closed because they are physically connected to other servers in use. With FireFly, however, it would be easier to redirect data traffic, which means that inactive servers can be shut down.

Source:

Penn State. "Infrared links could simplify data centre communications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170131185904.htm>.