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Summary:

Two research groups in the last few weeks have shown off 100 terabit per second speeds delivered over fiber connections. The advancement in speeds is both unexpected and necessary as we rely on broadband as the interconnect for our increasingly digital lives.

New tech to cram more bits in your hertz.

Two research groups in the last few weeks have shown off 100 terabit per second speeds delivered over fiber connections according to a nice article in New Scientist . The advancement in speeds is both unexpected and necessary as we rely on broadband as the interconnect for our increasingly digital lives. We’re about to live in a 100 gigabit world when it comes to our backhaul connections and the next step will be the terabit age to provide the backbone speeds as more and more cities get hooked up with gigabit connections.

For those who think those speeds won’t ever be necessary, or who buy into the current ISP logic of broadband scarcity and caps, just wait and see. Thanks to efforts such as Google’s project in Kansas City, Kan. or Xavier Niel of Free, people are thinking about ways to build out faster infrastructure for lower costs, I’m hoping that not only will cities and consumers be able to afford these fast connections, but building them out will be economical. Then, such widespread adoption of gigabit connections will render the need for terabit connections and eventually 100 terabit backhaul.

So how do we get there? At the Optical Fiber Conference last month, NEC said it transferred 101.7 terabits per second through 165 kilometres of fibre. To make that happen, NEC used 370 separate lasers. A researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo created a fiber with multiple light-guiding cores, as opposed to the one used today, with each core delivering 15.6 terabits per second for a total of 109 terabits per second. Think of it as bonding network channels with light instead of copper. The distance this connection was able to sustain at those speeds was not mentioned, however.

Given that our long-haul networks don’t need 100 terabit speeds just yet, and because when it comes to fiber sustaining such high speeds over long distances is a key challenge, the New Scientist article quotes Ting Wang of NEC saying its likely that we’ll see these innovations picked up in data centers first where shorter distances and an immediate need for speed make the investment in glass worthwhile.

  1. Brett

    This is perhaps the best comment you have left on our site — ever. As always your insights and criticisms are appreciated.

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    1. Now THAT’S funny!

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  2. The problem is Stacey thinks that everyone is like her and has no life other than wasting it online. People don’t WANT gigabyte speeds to their house. Even if they were billionaires they wouldn’t get it.

    I have a newsflash for you…Most people spend less than an hour a day online. Why? Because NO ONE will ever say on their deathbed “I wish I spent more time on the internet.” It is sad that you apparently will.

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    1. The problem is that you think anybody who is interested in the march of technology must be wasting their life online.

      I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life traveling around the earth, being missioned to some of the poorest, most violent and most BEAUTIFUL places on this planet. I’ve learned much about myself, my faith and the people with whom I share this life. If I were to die today I would have no regrets about what I’ve done and seen…

      And yet I am both fascinated and excited by the possibilities that higher bandwidth brings. I can’t tell you all the things (both good and bad) that WILL happen as the ultra-high-speed connection becomes ubiquitous, but then again I don’t feel the need to poo-poo everything that I don’t find personally interesting.

      Fr. Robert

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  3. I don’t see why you think the Google KC project will do anything more than all the other times Google has started something and not followed through on it. (Which happens FAR more often than it expanding.)

    I am sure you were busy verbally fellating Sergey and Larry when they announced in 1996-1997s ago about their plans to bring regular WiFi to the country. And 5 years later, it hasn’t expanded beyond the initial test sites. Same thing will happen now.

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  4. Great job on the article Stacey. Something very exciting to look forward to. @Brett, I’m not really sure who is pro-ISP these days. They Suck. @Lakawak…nah nevermind – don’t want to waste your precious daily 30 minutes on the internet by having you read why you are a waste of time. But wait, I just wasted my time telling you that you are a waste of time. Shoot.

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  5. The sad thing is, we’re reaching new speeds while ISP’s are placing stricter caps on monthly usage. I have a feeling that even with these advancements, ISP’s will try to keep users at lower speeds with tight caps who aren’t willing/able to pay for much higher cost plans with reasonable speeds and no caps.

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  6. This progress in internet speed is as inexorable as gravity, as someone from the 300 baud modem era can attest.

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