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使互联网成为可能的隐藏的网络 – 译学馆
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使互联网成为可能的隐藏的网络

The hidden network that makes the internet possible - Sajan Saini

“想法并非总是一蹴而就 而是需要时间和思考 勤奋尝试和错误实验” ——高锟 光纤通信之父
.
2012年
In 2012,
一组日本和丹麦的研究者创造了一项世界纪录
a team of Japanese and Danish researchers set a world record,
在1秒内 通过50公里的电缆
transmitting 1 petabit of data—
传送了一千万亿级的数据
that’s 10,000 hours of high-def video—
相当于10000小时的高清视频
over a fifty-kilometer cable, in a second.
这不是什么电缆
This wasn’t just any cable.
这是一种加速光纤技术
It was a souped-up versionof fiber optics—
作为连接我们地球的隐藏网络
the hidden network that links our planet
使互联网成为可能
and makes the internet possible.
数十年来 城市和国家之间长距离的通讯
For decades, long-distance communicationsbetween cities and countries
在铜线中用电信号传送
were carried by electrical signals, in wires made of copper.
那样又慢又低效
This was slow and inefficient,
因为金属线限制数据速率且能量以热损失的形式散失了
with metal wires limiting data rates and power lost as wasted heat.
但是在20世纪晚期
But in the late 20th century,
工程师们掌握了一种更加优越的传输方式
engineers mastered a far superior method of transmission.
相对金属来说 玻璃能够被轻易地熔化
Instead of metal, glass can be carefully melted
并卷入柔软的纤维束中
and drawn into flexible fiber strands,
可以达到百公里长并且比头发还细
hundreds of kilometers longand no thicker than human hair.
与电流不同 这些光纤传输光脉冲
And instead of electricity, these strands carry pulses of light,
表示数字数据
representing digital data.
但光怎么在玻璃中传播
But how does light travel within glass,
而不直接穿过玻璃呢?
rather than just pass through it?
秘诀在于一种叫作“全内反射”的现象
The trick lies in a phenomenon knownas total internal reflection.
从艾萨克•牛顿时代开始
Since Isaac Newton’s time,
透镜制造者和科学家们就知道
lensmakers and scientists have known that
光在空气和水或玻璃等材料间穿过时会弯曲
light bends when it passes between air and materials like water or glass.
玻璃内的一束光以钝角射到玻璃表面时
When a ray of light inside glass hits its surface at a steep angle,
会发生折射 或进入空气时发生弯曲
it refracts, or bendsas it exits into air.
但如果光束以锐角照射
But if the ray travels at a shallow angle,
光就会受阻 弯曲
it’ll bend so far that it stays trapped,
沿着玻璃内壁反射
bouncing along inside the glass.
在适当的条件下
Under the right condition,
世上一些通常透明的东西反而也能吸收光
something normally transparent to light can instead hide it from the world.
与电流或无线电相比
Compared to electricity or radio,
光纤信号在长距离传播时几乎不会减弱
fiber optic signals barely degradeover great distances—
确实也会有一点能量散失
a little power does scatter away,
并且光纤不能弯曲得太厉害
and fibers can’t bend too sharply,
不然光会泄露
otherwise the light leaks out.
如今 一根光纤能够传输许多波长的光
Today,a single optical fiber carries many wavelengths of light,
每个通道有不同的数据
each a different channel of data.
一根光缆包含数百根光纤
And a fiber optic cable contains hundredsof these fiber strands.
超过一百万公里的电缆纵横交错在我们海底
Over a million kilometers of cablecrisscross our ocean floors
连接各个大陆
to link the continents,
这些足以绕地球赤道近三十圈
that’s enough to wind around the Equator nearly thirty times.
用光纤传播数据 距离几乎不成问题
With fiber optics, distance hardly limits data,
同时让互联网升级成了行星级计算机
which has allowed the internet to evolveinto a planetary computer.
逐渐地
Increasingly,
我们的手机工作和娱乐
our mobile work and play rely
依赖大量超负荷工作的电脑服务器
on legions of overworked computer servers,
储存于分布在世界各地的巨大数据中心
warehoused in gigantic data centersflung across the world.
这被称作“云计算”
This is called cloud computing,
同时它导致两个大问题:
and it leads to two big problems:
热损失和带宽需求
heat waste and bandwidth demand.
绝大多数的互联网流量在数据中心来回穿梭
The vast majority of internet trafficshuttles around inside data centers,
在这儿 数百台服务器用传统的电缆连接
where thousands of servers are connectedby traditional electrical cables.
它们一半的能量以热损失的形式散失了
Half of their running poweris wasted as heat.
同时 无线带宽的需求稳步增长
Meanwhile,wireless bandwidth demandsteadily marches on,
我们手机中使用的千兆赫信号
and the gigahertz signals used in ourmobile devices
逐渐达到数据传输的极限
are reaching their data delivery limits.
看来 光纤的好处已经远超它本身的优点
It seems fiber optics has been too good for its own good,
远超云计算和移动计算的预期效果
fueling overly-ambitious cloud and mobilecomputing expectations.
但是通过集成光子学这项相关技术就能解决
But a related technology, integratedphotonics, has come to the rescue.
光不仅能够在光纤里
Light can be guided notonly in optical fibers,
同时也在超薄硅线中传输
but also in ultrathin silicon wires.
硅线不像光纤那样导光
Silicon wires don’t guide lightas well as fiber.
但是它们让工程师们
But they do enable engineers to shrink
把所有的器件收缩到百公里的光纤网络中
all the devices in a hundred kilometerfiber optic network
直到插入服务器的微小光子芯片
down to tiny photonic chips that pluginto servers
把它们的电信号转化为光信号并转换回来
and convert their electrical signalsto optical and back.
这些光电转换芯片能让数据中心不经济的电缆
These electricity-to-light chips allow forwasteful electrical cables in data centers
转换成为高效光纤
to be swapped out forpower-efficient fiber.
光子芯片也能够帮助打破无线带宽的限制
Photonic chips can help break openwireless bandwidth limitations, too.
研究人员正在努力将移动千兆赫信号
Researchers are working to replace mobilegigahertz signals
更换成太赫兹频率 从而使传输数据的速度快几千倍
with terahertz frequencies, to carry data thousands of times faster.
但是这些是短波信号:
But these are short-range signals:
它们被空气中的水分吸收
they get absorbed by moisture in the air,
或者被高楼大厦挡住
or blocked by tall buildings.
城市中遍布着微小的无线和光纤转换光子传感器芯片
With tiny wireless-to-fiber photonictransmitter chips distributed dewire cities,
太赫兹信号可以远距离中继
terahertz signals can be relayed overlong-range distances.
它们可以通过光纤这个稳定的中间人做到这点
They can do so via a stable middleman,optical fiber,
让高速无线连接成为可能
and make hyperfastwireless connectivity a reality.
在整个人类历史上
For all of human history,
光赋予我们光明和热量
light has gifted us with sight and heat,
在我们探索和定居在这个物质世界上时 它是我们稳定的伙伴
serving as a steady companion while we explored and settled the physical world.
现在 我们已经能把信息加载在光中
Now,we’ve saddled light with information and redirected it
重新传入带着许多不同集成光子出口的
to run along a fiber optic superhighway—
高速运行的光纤中
with many different integratedphotonic exits—
从而建立一个更加广阔的虚拟世界
to build an even more expansive,virtual world.

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互联网帮助人类远距离传递信息,但是怎么样才能让互联网成为隐藏的网络,本视频将告诉你答案。

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