Japanese researchers have set a new world record for internet download speeds, reaching 402 terabits per second (Tbps). This surpasses their previous record of 321 Tbps from the previous year. To put this into perspective, 402 Tbps is equivalent to 402,000,000 megabits per second (Mbps), vastly outstripping typical home internet speeds, which are often below 1,000 Mbps.

This remarkable speed enables downloading massive files, like the 18+ GB game Elden Ring, almost instantaneously. The researchers achieved this breakthrough using widely available fiber optic cables, augmented by innovative new technologies. These advancements include the first-ever O to U-band transmission system capable of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) in standard optical fiber, coupled with custom-designed amplifier technology.

This chart from the NICT press release illustrates the significant improvement of this new record and the wavelengths used by researchers to achieve it (Image credit: NICT).

The international research team was led by the Photonic Network Laboratory at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Tokyo, Japan. Their method involved enhancing data signal amplification to maximize the transmission capabilities of fiber optic cables.

This included using six doped-fiber amplifier variants combined with Raman-amplification techniques to span all low-loss transmission bands of silica fibers, achieving an unprecedented 37.6 terahertz (THz) of bandwidth over 50 kilometers of fiber optic cable.

No, you cannot get it at home

Despite the significant advancements, such extreme speeds are unlikely to be available to consumers anytime soon; Current hardware limitations mean that even top-tier gaming PCs cannot handle or write data at such high speeds. Nonetheless, the new transmission system represents a substantial leap forward in data transfer capabilities.

The experimental nature of this research suggests that while consumers won’t see these speeds in the near future, the findings could significantly influence the development of faster internet technologies, potentially revolutionizing data transmission rates in the future.

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