Fibre internet is great no matter who’s laying it down. Gigabit connection speeds? Hell yes. But if you thought that was fast, researchers in the UK have something better that will not only blow your hair back, but blow it right off: a 1.4 terabit connection, and all with commercial-grade hardware.
Developed by a joint research team from French telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent and BT, the magic of this incredible connection isn’t in fancy hardware. Instead, it’s in a new protocol named Flexigrid that lets you lay multiple signals over the top of each other in a a single cable, which lets data race from point A to point B in parallel. When layered together, seven 200Gbps channels form one, mega “Alien Super Channel” that offers the 1.4Tbps speeds across a 410km stretch of fibre that already exists between the BT Tower in London and a BT research campus in Suffolk.
How fast is 1.4 Tbps? Fast enough to stream any one of the following in one second:
- 64 hours of HD video
- 38 hours in 3D or 4K
- 36,409 songs from Spotify
We’ve seen some other impressive advances in connectivity recently too, like 200Gb wireless connections through a combination of hardware and a software advancements. But 1.4Tbps through pure protocol is especially exciting because it doesn’t require any infrastructure changes. This could theoretically run on the fibre (much of which is lying useless) in the ground right now.
But laying new fibre is a rough process, and not many people (aside from Google) are actively pursuing it. Still if we could get 1.4Tbps out it, that’s all the reason in the world to bring dark fibre back to life, and start laying more new stuff to boot. A whole 1433 reasons to hurry it up already. [The Independent]