French researchers announced recently that they have been able to transfer data optically at a speed of 16.4Tbps (that’s terabits per second, or about 17 billion kilobits per second). Yes, that’s over 11 million times faster than today’s DSL connections.
At these rates they were able to transfer 2.05TB or about 100 HD movies every second. The researchers believe their work could eventually lead to 100Gbps ethernet connections.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this is that the transfers weren’t happening over a few inches or feet. On the contrary, the data was traveling over a whopping 1,500 miles. With this the researchers have set a world record for bandwidth capacity by distance.
The research, performed at Bell Labs, involved several new technologies such as a “highly linear, balanced optoelectronic photoreceiver and an ultra-compact, temperature-insensitive coherent mixer.” Yeah, we have no idea what that means either.
So what will come of all of this? Bell Labs claims that this research will “pave the way to the future of communications.” Most importantly, the researchers’ work shows that the potential for higher bandwidth is present, and we just need to learn how to utilize it.