Fastest-ever data transfer clocked at incredible 1.125Tbps

12 Feb 2016

Imagine being able to download all of Game of Thrones in one second? Well, researchers have achieved a data transfer speed that could do just that.

The fastest-ever data transfer record, achieved by a team from University College London (UCL), clocked in at a blistering 1.125Tbps, which, the team is quick to point out, is 50,000-times faster than the average UK household speed of 24Mbps.

With its research published in Scientific Reports, the team undertook the challenge by building an entirely new optical system to transmit the data, as well as developing its own coding techniques to fine-tune the transfer speed to the ultra-fast speed it achieved.

The optical system contains 15 channels, each of which transmits at a different wavelength and is then combined and sent to a single optical receiver for detection.

In doing this, the researchers say that it turns it into a ‘super-channel’, widely believed to be the future of high-capacity communication, but it is years from being commercially available.

Looking for a long-distance relationship

The project is part of a UK-funded programme called UNLOC, which gave the team access to state-of-the-art lab facilities.

Explaining the super-channel concept further, lead researcher on the project, Dr Robert Maher, said: “Super-channels are becoming increasingly important for core optical communications systems, which transfer bulk data flows between large cities, countries or even continents.

“However, using a single receiver varies the levels of performance of each optical sub-channel, so we had to finely optimise both the modulation format and code rate for each optical channel individually to maximise the net information data rate. This ultimately resulted in us achieving the greatest information rate ever recorded using a single receiver.”

Having only achieved this speed in a lab, the researchers will now aim to expand their concept to long-distance transmissions up to thousands of kilometres in distance, which typically leads to data loss.

Fibre broadband cable image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic