How fast does your internet have to be before you can call it “fast”? Some of you might say that your 40Mbps line is fast, while those lucky folks sitting on a 1Gbps line laugh at your plodding connection. Yet even the fastest connection in the whole of South Africa will have to admit defeat in the wake of a new internet speed record set by researchers in Australia. With the kind of transfer speeds one can only dream of, two universities managed to achieve a maximum speed of 44.2 Tbps.
Australia’s Monash University, Swinburne University and RMIT University all got together and schemed up a way to break the worldwide internet speed record for no other reason other than, “Why not?” Discussed in the published paper Nature Communications, the record of 44.2 Tbps was set over 75km of standard optical fibre with a single integrated chip source. According to The Verge, that kind of speed could be used to transfer “50 100GB Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in a single second.”
According to Bill Corcoran, co-lead author of the study at Monash University, the experiment demonstrates “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.” Does this mean we can expect speed like this in the future? Probably, but we’re talking the diiiiiiiiistant future. So don’t get too excited about it just yet.
RMIT University’s Professor Arnan Mitchell said, “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.” Again, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to relax with 44.2 Tbps bandwidth in your house. It’ll most likely be used to connect data centres before any domestic purposes. Still, it’s nice to have dreams.