A team of researchers at University College London, working in partnership with Xtera and KDDI Research, have achieved a new internet speed record.
Led by Dr Lidia Galdino, the team hit a data transmission rate of 178Tb per second (or 178,000,000Mb/s), which is fast enough to download the whole Netflix library in under one second.
The new internet speed record is a fifth faster than the previous best (set by a team of engineers in Japan) and twice as fast as any system currently active.
The figure reached by the academics also nears the theoretical data transmission speed limit, as posed by American mathematician Claude Shannon in 1949.
Internet speed record
The new record speed was achieved by pushing data through a much wider range of wavelengths than is used in modern optical fiber. Current internet infrastructure relies on a spectrum bandwidth of 4.5THz, but the research team used a whopping 16.8THz bandwidth.
To make this possible, the academics combined multiple amplifier technologies to increase signal power and optimized speed using newly developed Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations (described as “patterns of signal combinations that make best use of the phase, brightness and polarization properties of the light.”).
“While current state-of-the art cloud data center interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second, we are working with new technologies that utilize more efficiently the existing infrastructure, making better use of optical fibre bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate,” explained Dr Galdino.
“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.”
The benefit of the new technologies used by the UCL team is that they could feasibly sit on the top of existing internet infrastructure – and wouldn’t be too expensive to deploy – meaning some of the performance gain could trickle down to the end user in a not-too-distant future.
If you’re looking for ways to increase speed in the meantime, check out our ultimate guide to boosting Wi-Fi.
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