As we celebrate the Day of Photonics 2022, it’s a good time to consider the dramatic impact photonics technology has on New Zealand’s ability to connect and do business with the world. 

Photonics powers the transmission of enormous amounts of data across the globe at the speed of light, enabling modern-day life as we know it. All phone calls and messages, online meetings, video streaming, the Internet of Things (IoT), and a vast number of products, systems and infrastructure use photonics technologies to connect us to each other and the world.

This vast transmission of data happens over the global telecommunications network, primarily built on fiber-optic cables.

New Zealand (where Quantifi Photonics was founded and the location of our headquarters) is connected to the world via the Southern Cross cable, forming an optical network over 30,500km in length. Inside this cable are 6 fiber-optic cables, each the width of a human hair. These 6 fibers carry the majority of New Zealand’s telecommunications (cellular, landline and internet traffic).

Illustration of the undersea Southern Cross Cable

To put the amount of data these 6 extremely thin glass cables can transmit each and every day into context:

  1. The speed at which data is transferred is expressed in Gigabits (Gbit/s) or Terabits (Tbit/s) per second.
  2. A Gigabit is 1,000,000,000 bits of information per second. 
  3. A Terabit is 1,000,000,000,000 bits of information per second. 
  4. With an initial capacity of 120 Gbit/s in 2001, the Southern Cross cable now has capacity of 72 Tbit/s – an increase of 600X and the equivalent of streaming 15 million HD movies simultaneously!

This incredible increase in the capacity of fiber-optic networks is due to the vision and hard work of tens of thousands of talented engineers around the world. So on this Day of Photonics, October 21 2022, we’d like to say thanks to the photonics engineers that make this possible.

At Quantifi Photonics, we also hope to do our part as we aim to become the leading test instrument provider for the advanced devices that power these communications networks. Our test solutions are designed to help manufacturers test new devices built with advanced technologies including photonic integrated circuits, silicon photonics, co-packaged optics, and next-generation pluggable transceivers.

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