New chip promises telecom, Internet boost

A new high-speed digital chip demonstrated recently by TRW Space&Electronics Group soon may offer telecommunications service providers and government agencies fiber-optic data transmissions at up to 40 gigabits/sec.

The chip, which operates at 69 GHz, or 69 billion cycles per second, was fabricated using indium phosphide, an advanced semiconductor material with high-speed performance superior to that used for fiber transmissions today, said Dwight Streit, director of TRW Telecom Products in Redondo Beach, Calif.

"The demand is overwhelming," Streit said. Any type of high-speed digital circuitry will be of interest to the government and commercial markets primarily for Internet data transmissions, he said.

The chip takes data from computers, translates it to a higher data rate and transmits it at 40 gigabits/sec. A 2.5 gigabits/sec transmission speed is now considered state of the art.

Other firms also are pursuing indium phosphide technologies, but TRW's demonstration is the fastest performance to date, Streit said.

The chips, currently in the initial manufacturing stage, will be instrumental in the next generation of fiber-optic and wireless broadband Internet and telecommunication systems, Streit said.

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