Internet is never fast enough, but a group of researchers from the Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities in Australia have reached speeds that would sate even the hungriest of data geeks.
Impressively, they’ve done this using standard optic fiber, both in the laboratory and on an actual network in the greater metropolitan area of Melbourne, Australia. The 44.2 Tbps result was for a raw bitrate; for a coded rate and in the field, this speed fell down to 39 Tbps, which is still very respectable.
To achieve these speeds, the researchers used “soliton crystal micro-combs,” which are “optical frequency combs generated by integrated micro-cavity resonators.” Yes, it’s one of those technologies that sounds increasingly complicated the more you read about them; suffice to say that these researchers have managed to use the micro-combs to increase data transfer speeds in “demanding and practical optical communications networks.”
“This work demonstrates their ability to support ultrahigh bandwidth data transmission in practical and demanding environments,” the researchers conclude.
For an idea of just how fast these speeds are, here’s a quick comparison: 44.2 terabits per second equals 5.525 terabytes per second. In late 2019, Pornhub said it hosts 11 petabytes of data, which is 11,000 terabytes. At these internet speeds, a person would be able to download all the videos on Pornhub in roughly 1991 seconds, or 33.2 minutes.
Unfortunately, end users won’t be seeing these speeds anytime soon; this tech is still being researched, and if it gets commercialized, it would likely first be used to connect data centers. But hey, a person can dream.