Internet speed record: yes, you can download the entire Netflix catalog in a second

Internet speed record: yes, you can download the entire Netflix catalog in a second
Lidia Galdino during the speed test. Photo: James Tye / UCL

We have a new Internet speed record, it is the fastest internet recorded so far, an amazing figure of 178 Tbps, yes 178 terabits per second. To answer the main question you have in mind: it is about two million times faster than the fiber connection you have at home, more than enough to download all Netflix in less than a second.

Such speed was the result of an experiment that was carried out at University College London by a team of engineers led by Dr Lidia Galdino. The record that managed to transmit data at a rate of 178,000,000 megabits per second, double the capacity of any other system in existence in the world.

A much wider range of colors

The researchers explain that transmission was achieved by transmitting data over a much wider range of light colors, or wavelengths than is normally used in fiber optics.

While the current infrastructure uses a limited spectrum bandwidth of 4.5 THz, and commercial 9 THz bandwidth systems are just entering the market, the researchers used a bandwidth of 16.8 THz.

The researchers had to combine different amplification technologies to be able to increase the signal power with such a bandwidth, and they were able to maximize speed by developing new patterns of signal combinations that take full advantage of the phase, brightness and polarization properties of light.

Most impressive of all is that the technique they have developed to obtain these speeds can be applied in the infrastructures that we already have. What should be done, according to the researchers, is to update the amplifiers that are already located in the current optical fiber routes, something almost 30 times cheaper than installing new optical fiber.

Galdino, the project leader explained that:

While current state-of-the-art cloud data-centre interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second, we are working with new technologies that utilise more efficiently the existing infrastructure, making better use of optical fibre bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate of 178 terabits a second.”

internet traffic has increased exponentially over the last 10 years and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. The development of new technologies is crucial to maintaining this trend towards lower costs while meeting future data rate demands that will continue to increase, with as yet unthought-of applications that will transform people’s lives”

More information | IEEE Journals and Magazine