Researchers from Australia’s Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities claim to have set a new Internet speed record of 44.2 Tbps.
The claim, which is featured in the ‘Nature Communications’ journal (https://www.nature.com/) refers to setting the bandwidth world record for ultra-dense optical data transmission over 75 km of standard optical fibre, with a single chip source. It has been reported that the fibre connection was run between RMIT’s Melbourne City campus and Monash University’s Clayton campus in order to represent the infrastructure that is used by Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN).
The exceptional speed and bandwidth achieved in the test, enough to download the contents of more than 50 100GB Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in one second, has been attributed not just to the capacity and capabilities of fibre, but also to the addition of micro-combs to the cable fibres.
Micro-combs are optical frequency combs based on micro-cavity resonators, and the researchers report that the ability to phase-lock, or mode-lock, these comb lines were key to breaking this speed record.
Micro-comb technology, therefore, appears to be a highly efficient way to transmit data and micro-combs offer the full potential of their bulk counterparts but in an integrated footprint.
RMIT’s Professor Arnan Mitchell has been quoted as saying that the challenge will now be how to turn the micro-comb technology into something that can integrate with the existing cable infrastructure, and the that the long-term hope is to “create integrated photonic chips that could enable this sort of data rate to be achieved across existing optical fibre links with minimal cost”.
Communications commentators have suggested that once the new technology is commercialised, data centres are most likely to benefit first from its introduction and that home and business users may have to wait years before they can use it, provided that it is affordable.
For communications infrastructure companies, this development means that they can augment the fibres that are already in the ground with this new micro-comb technology, thereby meaning that their existing networks are still good and scalable for the future.
This speed record and the new technology is also good news for the autonomous vehicles industry, gaming industry, medical fields, and other industries, segments, organisations, agencies and businesses that need greater speed and capacity to help them deal with increasing data demands.