Fastest ever internet speed achieved in Australia
Australian researchers say they have achieved the world’s fastest ever internet speed which would be capable of downloading 1,000 high-definition movies in a split second.
Teams from Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities have successfully tested and recorded a world-record data speed of 44.2 terabits per second (Tbps) from a single light source.
The research could help to fast-track improvements to Australia’s telecommunications capacity and eventually make its way to other countries too.
The technology has the capacity to support the high-speed internet connections of Melbourne’s 1.8 million households at the same time, and billions across the world during peak periods.
While demonstrations of this magnitude are usually confined to laboratory conditions, the team managed to achieve these record speeds using existing communications infrastructure where they were able to efficiently load-test the network.
They used a new device (pictured) that replaces 80 lasers with one single piece of equipment known as a micro-comb, which is smaller and lighter than existing telecommunications hardware. It was planted into and load-tested using existing infrastructure.
It is the first time any micro-comb has been used in a field trial and possesses the highest amount of data produced from a single optical chip.
Australia is currently placed 62nd in the world ranking of global internet speeds despite having the fourteenth largest GDP. Its huge, sparsely populated landmass makes internet infrastructure relatively expensive to roll out on a per person basis.
With an average download speed of 43.4Mbps Australian connections are almost five times slower than Singapore’s lightning-quick average download speed of 197.26Mbps.
“We’re currently getting a sneak-peek of how the infrastructure for the internet will hold up in two to three years’ time, due to the unprecedented number of people using the internet for remote work, socialising and streaming. It’s really showing us that we need to be able to scale the capacity of our internet connections,” said Dr Bill Corcoran from Monash University, co-lead author of the study.
“What our research demonstrates is the ability for fibres that we already have in the ground, thanks to the NBN (National Broadband Network) project, to be the backbone of communications networks now and in the future. We’ve developed something that is scalable to meet future needs.
“And it’s not just Netflix we’re talking about here – it’s the broader scale of what we use our communication networks for. This data can be used for self-driving cars and future transportation and it can help the medicine, education, finance and e-commerce industries, as well as enable us to read with our grandchildren from kilometres away.”
Professor Mitchell, who also worked on the project, said reaching the optimum data speed of 44.2Tbps showed the potential of existing Australian infrastructure. The future ambition of the project is to scale up the current transmitters from hundreds of gigabytes per second towards tens of terabytes per second without increasing size, weight or cost.
Recent analysis from Ofcom found that the average speed of UK broadband connections only declined by around two per cent since the start of the lockdown, easing fears that networks could have been overloaded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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