Electronics

Experimental photonic chip clocks crazy 44-terabit internet speed

Experimental photonic chip clo...
One of the micro-comb photonic chips, which allowed internet speeds of up to 44.2 Tb/s
One of the micro-comb photonic chips, which allowed internet speeds of up to 44.2 Tb/s
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One of the micro-comb photonic chips, which allowed internet speeds of up to 44.2 Tb/s
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One of the micro-comb photonic chips, which allowed internet speeds of up to 44.2 Tb/s

An Australian research team has recorded the fastest ever internet speed from a single light source – an absolutely astounding 44.2 terabits per second. That’s more than 44,000 times faster than the highest speed connection available to consumers today. This incredible feat was made possible by a new kind of optical chip.

The key to the breakthrough was a new device called a micro-comb, which was being field tested for the first time. This device replaces 80 individual infrared lasers, each of which can be used as a separate communications channel.

The team, made up of researchers from Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities, tested the technology using 76.6 km (47.6 mi) of optical fibers, installed between two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia.

Across 4 THz of bandwidth, the network was able to transmit data at a blistering speed of 44.2 Tb/s. It’s hard to overstate just how fast that really is. The fastest internet speed available to consumers is Google Fiber, which clocks 1 Gb/s. The US Department of Energy’s dedicated science network, ESnet, maxes out at 400 Gb/s – but that’s reserved for organizations like NASA.

The fact that these speeds were reached using existing infrastructure like optical fibers suggests that it could be relatively easy to scale up for public use, once photonic chips can be integrated. That said, don’t expect to be downloading the entirety of Netflix in an instant anytime soon.

“Long-term, we hope to create integrated photonic chips that could enable this sort of data rate to be achieved across existing optical fiber links with minimal cost,” says Arnan Mitchell, lead researcher on the study. “Initially, these would be attractive for ultra-high speed communications between data centers. However, we could imagine this technology becoming sufficiently low cost and compact that it could be deployed for commercial use by the general public in cities across the world.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Monash University

8 comments
MerlinGuy
I hope this is real and not just another "battery breakthrough" that never sees the market.

Kpar
As a retired Fiber Optic splicer, I already knew that the upper range of fiber speeds were only limited by the terminal equipment, but THIS? Amazing. And, unlike battery tech (always talked about, but rarely seen in production), this will start from hub-to-hub, then into the rings, and, as the article says, to the end user. This will happen much faster than people realize, because the companies have a serious incentive.
Steve Walsh
Buffalo, NY had one six inch and four four inch PVC pipes stuffed with fiber optic running parallel to main street. The same contractor got the job to lay the fiber down the NY State Thruway from NY City to the the PA line. Western NY State can handle anything thrown at it. We are equipped.
ljaques
Wow, amazing speeds of throughput! You could download the entire city library to your holopad in seconds flat! Hope I live long enough for that.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This should also be a proportionate improvement in high speed target detection.
Les LaZar
What makes this "internet" speed? The use of standard optical fiber? The device described is just a transmitter. I presume there is a compatible receiver at the far end, or the speed could not have been measured. It's going to take more than a transmitter/receiver pair to give the potential speed to the net. There is infrastructure requred at both ends as well. This is a long way from "internet" speed.
vince
That's smokin. Jeeze.
Duncan E
OK can't resist - consumer grade internet in New Zealand has reached 4gbit fibre speeds with 10gbit in trials. This is because we've rolled out a nationwide network of fibre to the home. Our Australian buddies rolled out fibre to the node, with copper to the home, and they're envious of 30mbit speeds. US based internet connections are so slow.