Friday, 31 January 2014
London Test Achieves World's Fastest Broadband Speeds
In a recent test of technology developed under a joint venture between BT (British Telecom) and Alcatel-Lucent, the world's fastest broadband speeds were recorded at 1.4 Tbits per second. The incredibly fast speeds allowed researchers to send the equivalent of 44 uncompressed HD films over a 255-mile link – in just one second!
The test was conducted between the BT Tower in London and a location in Ipswich, using existing infrastructure. The fact that the two companies were able to generate such high speeds without building anything new is as important to data communications and it is impressive. Achieving speeds of 1.4 Tbits per second without the need for new infrastructure opens up the door to great opportunities.
The results of the BT/Alcatel-Lucent test are especially important to web hosting companies and Internet service providers. It will eventually allow them to offer faster service without the need for large capital investments. Nevertheless, before you get too excited, it will be a while before the technology makes it to commercial applications.
BT and Alcatel-Lucent began working on their project in response to the ever-growing need for higher bandwidth. According to the BBC, that demand grows every year by roughly 35%, dictating the need for faster speeds using current optical fibre technology. The growing demand simply cannot be met fast enough, with other technologies requiring new infrastructure. For now, companies like BT and Alcatel-Lucent need to do more with what they already have at their disposal.
While BT and Alcatel-Lucent may be the first to achieve such impressive data speeds, they are by no means the only ones working on the problem. Companies like Google and Virgin Communications are pushing the boundaries as well. Today's networking and cloud computing environments demand no less.
Right now, the main question seems to be one of sticking with fibre optic technology and trying to make it better, or shifting to new technologies like laser. Given the history and cost of building new infrastructure it seems reasonable that technology companies will drain every last ounce from optical fibre before moving on to other things.
That's good news in the sense that there still remains more to be gained from the infrastructure that is already in place. The opportunity for faster speeds without incredible financial investments offers the opportunity for businesses to grow and expand networking capabilities fairly easily. It is definitely a huge step in the right direction.
As companies like BT and Alcatel-Lucent learn to pack greater amounts of information into fibre optic networks, they will continue increasing data transfer speeds throughout the UK and the world. It should be no surprise that London was the site of their most recent test, given the fact that the UK leads the world in high-speed Internet communications. As long as we continue to make it possible for technology companies to succeed in the UK, there are no limits to what they can achieve.
1. BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25840502#story_continues_2