FiOS, you ain't got nothing on this: Alcatel-Lucent researchers in France have successfully transmitted optical data at an absolutely blazing speed of 16.4 Tbps over a distance of over 2,400 kms.
The transmission was done with the goal of achieving a 100 Gbps Ethernet connection, which, as I'm sure you'd agree, is a goal we can all get behind. All sorts of fancy, confusing-sounding technologies were used to get the blazing optical transmission, including "a highly linear, balanced optoelectronic photoreceiver and an ultra-compact, temperature-insensitive coherent mixer." I kept telling them that they just needed a more balanced optoelectronic photoreceiver! I'm glad they finally listened.
We're still pretty far from seeing speeds anywhere near this in consumer connections, as the technology being worked on here will go towards the internet's backbone rather than in a line to your house. But I mean, honestly, at what point is bandwidth so fast that it doesn't matter if it gets any faster? When we're talking about speeds that'll allow you to download a full HD movie in 15 seconds versus 3 seconds, you really start to lose the right to complain about it. Those 50 Mbps connections we'll start seeing offered to consumers in the next few years should be just plenty for the time being, no? [IT News Australia via Slashdot]