Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Fastest Ever" Internet Speeds Achieved by British Telecom & Alcatel-Lucent

Fiber Optics.jpg
Remember the days of the 56K modem? I sure do. I remember upgrading from 28K and being thrilled that I had doubled my Internet connection speed.
Well, the times they are a changing. With advances in Internet transmission speeds we are all seeing and benefiting from being able to move large amounts of data faster and faster.
This test was carried out in London by British Telecom in the French networking equipment company Alcatel-Lucent.
The speed that these 2 corporate behemoths managed to generate? How about 1.4 terabits per second?
Now I'm a diehard geek, but even I had to stop and try and figure out exactly what that speed means. So to get some context, that is a bandwidth speed that would allow 44 high-definition movies to be downloaded in a single second. Even now I'm trying to get my head around that.
In my opinion, one of the really cool facts about this test is that it was run on the existing fiber optic network that is already in place in London. I mean speed is nice, but if it requires a complete overhaul of the network hardware, that means it's costly and it's also going to take a good deal of time to deploy. Using the existing infrastructure does away with all of those problems.
Without getting too technical the process that was utilized basically decreases the distance between transmission channels. To use a plumbing analogy it would be like decreasing the size of water molecules to allow a much larger amount of water to be delivered through the same pipe.
A couple of caveats.  First this test was carried over the Internet backbone which is the equivalent of a freeway. The second is that this requires a true fiber-optic connection or the old adage “fiber to the curb”. So that means that the end-user i.e. the consumer wouldn't see speeds this great, but would definitely benefit from the overall process.
No word on when something like this might become available on a large scale. However, with the world's continuing demand for increases in broadband speed, my gut tells me this will happen sooner as opposed to later.

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