fastest internet speed ever

Highlights

  • Scientists set a new record of data transmission at 178 terabits per second (Tbps).
  • It is the fastest internet speed until now.
  • The technology can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure.
  • Current data-centre interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second

It is no wonder that the internet has changed our life. You can see how the current pandemic has increased the demand for internet and its speed too. Today we are talking about IoT and 5G where the speed of internet is the key. As you have already learnt in my previous post, how putting electronic and photonics elements on a single chip have drastically improved the internet speed and seem to be a perfect option to meet future demand.

Now the researchers have set a new record for data transmission rates, logging an incredible speed of 178 terabits per second (Tbps). The speed is approximately 2 times faster than the best internet available today.

Its speed can be imagined, as you can download 1500  4K movies of 15GB each in just a single second.

This could be more than just a super-fast lab experiment too – the technology used to reach the 178 Tbps record can be added to existing optical fibre pipes relatively easily, according to the scientists behind the project.

The internet we use today is built on optical fibre routes that use amplifiers to amplify the signal for long-distance and stops the light signals from degrading. (video)

“While current state-of-the-art cloud data-centre interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second, we are working with new technologies that utilise more efficiently the existing infrastructure, making better use of optical fibre bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate of 178 terabits a second,” says electrical engineer Lidia Galdino, from University College London.

How the researchers achieved the fastest internet ever?

  • To hit this record-breaking speed, the team used a much wider range of wavelengths light than are normally used to transmit data.
  • They used a bandwidth of 16.8 terahertz (THz) in a single-fibre core, four times the 4.5 THz used by most of our current network infrastructure.
  • The increase in bandwidth requires a boost of signal power thus several different amplifier techniques are combined in to maintain the requirement.

The technology manages the properties of each individual wavelength carefully. It is working on a process called constellation shaping to optimise signal transmissions and avoid interference.

Constellation shaping is an energy efficiency enhancement method for digital signal modulation that improves upon amplitude and phase-shift keying (APSK) and conventional quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM)) modulation by transmitting low-energy signals more frequently than high-energy signals.

 

The combination of these techniques meant much more information could be packed into the same space and transmitted more quickly, without that information becoming garbled along the way.

The new 178 Tbps record is amazing. It is pushing all the theoretical limits of what a data transfer network can take.

This idea of squeezing more information through existing pipes is one that many scientists are exploring, trying to strike the balance between getting data shifted as photons of light more quickly, without those photons interfering with each other.

If these upgrades can slot into existing infrastructure, so much the better.

Of course, we are yet to see the era of internet. Although the consumption of internet is at its high in history, but more than 40% of the world population is still not connected to the internet. Over the last 10 years, internet traffic has increased exponentially and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. So the cheaper the internet the more people will be connected.

“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 paper can be found in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.

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