Researchers demonstrate 4.5 million times faster internet on existing fiber

Researchers at Aston University have achieved a data transfer speed of 301 terabits or 301,000,000 megabits per second on an already-existing fiber network. This over four million times faster internet, compared to the average broadband, opens new possibilities to meet future data demands.

This speed could deliver 753 dual-layer (50GB) Blu-ray movies every second. While far from the world record, the most important thing is how researchers managed to achieve such a speed.

Researchers managed to pack the impressive bandwidth into a single standard fiber optic cable used in an already-existing deployed network.

“The feat was achieved by opening up new wavelength bands that are not yet used in fiber optic systems. Different wavelength bands are equivalent to different colors of light being transmitted down the optical fiber,” the press release explains.

Researchers from Aston University collaborated with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan and Nokia Bell Labs in the US to develop new devices called optical amplifiers and optical gain equalizers.

“Broadly speaking, data was sent via an optical fiber like a home or office internet connection,” Dr. Ian Phillips said in a press release. “However, alongside the commercially available C and L-bands, we used two additional spectral bands called E-band and S-band. Such bands traditionally haven’t been required because the C- and L-bands could deliver the required capacity to meet consumer needs.”

Image by Aston University.

An average Brit has an internet connection of just 69.4 Mbit/s megabits per second, or 4.5 million times slower, according to Ofcom. For comparison, that would take approximately 96 minutes to download a single 50GB Blu-ray disk.

Even those who have a gigabit connection have a 301,000 times slower internet than that demonstrated by Aston researchers.

“By increasing transmission capacity in the backbone network, our experiment could lead to vastly improved connections for end users,” Professor Wladek Forysiak, from the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, said. “This groundbreaking accomplishment highlights the crucial role of advancing optical fiber technology in revolutionizing communication networks for faster and more reliable data transmission. “

Their work provides a greener solution compared to the deployment of newer fiber, as it uses existing fiber infrastructure. As the demand for more data increases, it’s expected that the newly developed technology will help keep up with future demand.

The world record for data transmission, held by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, stands at 22.9 petabits per second, which is approximately 76 times faster than the 301 Tbit/s achievement. For that, researchers used a cable of 38 cores, each of which can transmit data in three modes for a total of 114 spatial channels.

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