UK and Japanese Engineers Shatter Internet Speed Record

Engineers from the United Kingdom and Japan have set an incredible new Internet speed record of 178 terabits per second (Tb/s). That’s 178,000,000 megabits a second, fast enough to download the entire Netflix library in the blink of an eye!

To put the new record into perspective, it is 17,800 times faster than the fastest Internet connections available to consumers in places like Japan, New Zealand and the United States, where some people enjoy 10 Gb/s (that’s 10 gigabits per second, not terabit).

Until now, the Internet speed record was held by a Japanese team that achieved 150 Tb/s. The new record is almost 20% faster than that and obliterates the impressive 44 Tb/s clocked by Australian engineers using a photonic chip back in May this year.

Such speeds could be achieved on existing infrastructure

To achieve the insane speed, the engineers from University College London (UCL), Xtera and KDDI Research transmitted data through a much wider range of colours of light, or wavelengths, than is typically used in optical fibre. One of the ways they did this was by modulating light before it is beamed down optical fibres. In a nutshell, the team managed to squeeze a lot more data simultaneously down the optic fibre.

Best of all, the engineers say the technique can be used to cost-effectively achieve such speeds on already existing optical fibre infrastructure. All that is required, they say, is for the amplifiers found every 40km to 100km on optical fibre networks to be upgraded. So no need to replace miles and miles of cable.

Speaking about the achievement, Lidia Galdino, a lecturer at UCL and lead researcher on the study, said: “Independent of the Covid-19 crisis, internet traffic has increased exponentially over the last 10 years and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. The development of new technologies is crucial to maintaining this trend towards lower costs while meeting future data rate demands that will continue to increase, with as yet unthought-of applications that will transform people’s lives.”

The research is published in the journal IEEE Photonics Technology Letters >>>

Image credit: Daniel Dino-Slofer from Pixabay

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