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A Japan-based research group breaks the world internet speed record

NICT engineers may have revolutionized fiber-optic technology. (Source: NICT)
NICT engineers may have revolutionized fiber-optic technology. (Source: NICT)
Engineers from Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have reported a new world record for data-transmission speed over fiber-optic cables. They claim a rate of 319 terabits per second (Tb/s), as opposed to the former highest rate of 178 Tb/s. Most crucially, this achievement has been made over an appreciable length of cable and a potentially feasible tweak of conventional technology.

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Proponents of 5G claim that this latest form of mobile data can replace conventional wired broadband internet as its capacity to transfer data grows. However, it is currently far outpaced by standards such as fiber optics: not only can it deliver up ot 10 gigabits per second (Gb/s) at a retail level, it can supply bodies such as NASA with speeds of up to 400 Gb/s.

Furthermore, advancements at the research level have led to a worldwide speed record of no less than 178 Tb/s. However, engineers from the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) claim to have nearly doubled this rate. 

They have done so using the technique of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM), by which the signal in question is split into a number of individual wavelengths, sent simultaneously and fired via a 552-channel comb laser. This protocol has reportedly resulted in a rate of 319 Tb/s over 3,001 kilometers (km, or 1,864.7 miles), thanks to a system of boosters found every 70km along the cable in question.

On that note, the NICT researchers claim to have developed a new kind of internal structure for this cable, incorporating four glass "cores" or tubes, not to mention novel amplifiers doped in either thulium or erbium. These new components are described as capable of fitting into conventional cable-housing (of 0.125 mm in diameter). Therefore, this part of the new and record-blasting system could potentially augment existing infrastructure via retrofitting.

All in all, the engineers claim that the new cable technology results in an effective rate of 957 petabits per second per kilometer. This achievement has been presented at the 2021 International Conference on Optical Fiber Communications (ICOFC) by the NICT group's leader, Benjamin Puttnam.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4217 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 07 > A Japan-based research group breaks the world internet speed record
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-07-20 (Update: 2021-07-21)