New Fiber Optics Milestone: 100 Terabits/Sec

Fibre Optic

The highest average internet speed at the time of this writing — 30.84 Mbps in South Korea, according to Ookla’s Net Index. The actual average, without being diluted by generally slower wireless broadband, should be even higher, as indicated on various infographics.

Some South Korean apartment buildings are even equipped with connections that can go up to 100 Mbps. As if that’s not fast enough, the South Korean government would like every household to have a 1 Gbps connection by 2012.

Seems impressive, but never mind all that — for tera is now the new giga. In last month’s Optical Fiber Communications Conference, a major breakthrough was reported in terms of fiber optics technology.

Two separate research groups were reported to have reached the 100 Tbps milestone with their blazing fast fiber, achieved by two different methods.

NewScientist has a more technical write-up:

At the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in Los Angeles last month, Dayou Qian, also of NEC, reported a total data-sending rate of 101.7 terabits per second through 165 kilometres of fibre. He did this by squeezing light pulses from 370 separate lasers into the pulse received by the receiver. Each laser emitted its own narrow sliver of the infrared spectrum, and each contained several polarities, phases and amplitudes of light waves to code each packet of information.

At the same conference, Jun Sakaguchi of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo also reported reaching the 100-terabit benchmark, this time using a different method. Instead of using a fibre with only one light-guiding core, as happens now, Sakaguchi’s team developed a fibre with seven. Each core carried 15.6 terabits per second, yielding a total of 109 terabits per second. “We introduced a new dimension, spatial multiplication, to increasing transmission capacity,” Sakaguchi says.

Household users would obviously have a long time to wait before they can enjoy such god-like Internet speed. But just imagine the possibility. Cloud computing would be so relevant at that point. It wouldn’t make any difference storing files on your local disk or in the cloud, at least when there’s no outage in the cloud service.

Who will need a download manager anymore? All downloads will be completed the very moment you click the “Save” button. Now we’re talking.

And for Google, it means they can stop relying on FedEx  for data transfer — like they did in 2007, moving 120TB worth of data physically because a truck can transfer that amount of data faster than the internet.