Researchers achieve a whopping 178,000Gbps Internet speed

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UCL engineers set new world record internet speed by achieving a mindboggling 178,000Gbps speed aka 178Tbps

The current generation thrives on the Internet and its speed. The normal speed we have in our home is about 10 to 100Mbps but just imagine what will happen if you have a download speed of 178,000 gigabits per second on your home Wi-Fi network. You could download the entire Netflix library of movies/serials and TV shows in just under a second. Mind-blowing isn’t it!

Researchers from University College London have achieved the impossible speed of 178Tbps during their research. The importance of UCL researchers’ achievement can be surmised from the fact that the current optical fiber-enabled data centers are capable of transmitting data at speeds of 35Tbps. The existing world record for maximum Internet speed was set by an Australian research team at 44.2Tbps in May this year. But all these records pale in light of the mind-boggling speed that UCL researchers have achieved.

A team of researchers from University College London led by Dr. Lidia Galdino in collaboration with Xtera and KDDI Research has succeeded in achieving 4 times the speed of Australian researchers’ earlier world record.

The researchers have published a blog post explaining how they achieved the world record Internet speed of 178,000Gbps. The researchers say that they used wavelengths much wider than those used in existing fiber optic systems and a spectral bandwidth of 16.8 THz. To understand the bandwidth used by the researchers, we can compare it with the currently used networks which use 4.5 THz bandwidth. The next-gen 9THz bandwidth is just being implemented in some parts of the world.

To achieve this spectral bandwidth, the researchers combined different amplifier technologies needed to boost the signal power over this wider bandwidth and maximized speed by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations or patterns of signal combinations that make the best use of the phase, brightness and polarization properties of the light. They were able to manipulate the properties of each individual wavelength to get the desired spectrum. By using a system-tailored set of geometrically shaped constellations, the UCL engineers demonstrated the transmission of 660 ×25 GBd channels over 40 km, resulting in a record single-mode fiber net throughput of 178.08 Tbit/s.

The researchers say that the data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) could take less than an hour to download the data that made up the world’s first image of a black hole (which, because of its size, had to be stored on half a ton of hard drives and transported by plane).

Interestingly the Internet transmission speed achieved by UCL researchers is very close to the theoretical limit for data transmission given by the American mathematician Claude Shannon in 1949.

While the earlier research was limited to labs, UCL research could actually be commercialized says Dr.Gadlino, “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 fiber bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate of 178 terabits a second.”

The UCL team’s research was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society Research Grant, and the EPSRC program grant. The team has written a research paper on their achievement called the IEEE Photonics Technology Letters. You can visit Dr.Gadlino’s academic profile here.

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"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

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