WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The world is consuming more and more content, more things are being connected to the internet, so in the future we need much faster networks to handle it all.
You probably consider your home internet to be fast – that is unless you live in the countryside in which case it probably stinks. Today, modern cable and fiber optic internet connections allow us to browse the web at home, play online games, stream videos, and keep our businesses running smoothly. But while content grows more complex, the world needs even faster internet speeds which is why, when the world went into lockdown during Covid-19 one way that broadband companies managed to cope with the surge in demand was by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to balance it all.
Despite using AI to do the heavy lifting though companies like Netflix and YouTube still had to throttle their platforms’ speeds by up to 25 percent and reduce the resolution of their streams. So AI is only a temporary fix and, frankly, we need more speed.
While 5G will help by delivering speeds in cities of up to 1.5Gbps this need for speed is why researchers in Australia have developed an internet connection capable of reaching 44.2 terabits per second, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications. And that is a staggering new speed record!
If this figure is too abstract for you to relate to consider the average user’s internet speed, which in the US is roughly 50 megabits per second – this is roughly 1 million times slower than the breakneck speed of the researchers.
The Australia-based team consists of researchers from Monash University, Swinburne University, and RMIT, and they achieved the wildly fast connection using an optical device called a microcomb in place of a standard bunch of roughly 80 lasers found that are found in regular modern telecom equipment.
A microcomb “generates very sharp and equidistant frequency lines in a tiny microphotonic chip,” according to Phys. This unique technology is also compatible with other fiber optic lines which could mean that this new device could be implemented without a wholesale overhaul of existing internet pipelines.
“What our research demonstrates is the ability for fibers that we already have in the ground […] to be the backbone of communications networks now and in the future,” said Monash University’s Bill Corcoran.
While at present most internet users don’t need a 44.2 Tbps connection at the moment this incredibly fast speed could one day help them adapt to the rise of developments like IoT and cloud computing, and all manner of other new digital services and technologies including internet scale real time human brain to brain telepathic communication.
Furthermore, due to the ever more complex nature of rich web content compounded by the wholesale shift of consumer industries to online services there’s not much time before average users need much faster connection speeds to surf the web. So say goodbye to slow internet and say hello to streaming your mind over the internet …