In South Africa, we’re used to complaining about our slower internet speeds, especially compared to many parts of the world outside the continent which far exceed our own. However, there is some news on internet speeds to make even the most connected home and office connection cry at the speeds delivered.
As reported by The Verge, Researchers based out of Australia’s Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities say they’ve set a new internet speed record of 44.2 Tbps, according to a paper published in the open-access journal Nature Communications. That’s theoretically enough speed to download the contents of more than 50 100GB Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in a single second. Or download a patch for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
What makes this particular test especially impressive though that it was not conducted over any magical new fibre connection but was achieved over 75km of standard optical fibre using a single integrated chip source. The test fibre connection ran between RMIT’s Melbourne City campus and Monash University’s Clayton campus, and the researchers say it mirrors infrastructure used by Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN). As shared by Swinburne University Professor David Moss:
What our research demonstrates is the ability for fibres that we already have in the ground, thanks to the NBN project, to be the backbone of communications networks now and in the future. We’ve developed something that is scalable to meet future needs.
Those speeds were achieved, thanks to a piece of technology called a micro-comb, which offers a more efficient and compact way to transmit data. This micro-comb was placed within the cable’s fibres in what the researchers say is the first time the technology has been used in a field trial.
Now, the researchers say the challenge is to turn the technology into something that can be used with existing infrastructure. Long-term, we hope to create integrated photonic chips that could enable this sort of data rate to be achieved across existing optical fibre links with minimal cost
What this all essentially means is that the technology is viable with today’s current technology and thereby something we could be seen in the near-future if further development and tests prove successful. Before we get too excited though, it will likely still be a while before we see this kind of technology become mainstream.
Not only does further development and testing still need to be conducted, but even if the technology is eventually commercialised, it will likely be introduced to data centres first and will take many years before every internet connection could run on it so that everyone can take advantage of this fast speed. Though imagine once we do, just how fast and easy downloads will become. A pity that it’s unlikely to improve latency, which is perhaps the biggest challenge to online gaming.
Last Updated: May 25, 2020