There’s really no other way to say it: BT and Alcatel
-Lucent claim that they’ve reached Internet
speeds of 1.4Tbps over an existing fiber
connection. To be clear, that terabits
, not gigabits
; we’ve covered a good amount of news related to the latter lately because almost nobody has access to those kinds of speeds as it is.
So, yes, terabit Internet speeds. The companies conducted this field trial in the UK, using a fiber link between the BT Tower in London and the company’s Adastral Park research facility in Suffolk. The underlying technology is a flexible grid infrastructure called “Flexgrid” that ups the density of each transmission channel and varies the gaps between them. This ostensibly allows for up to 42.5% more data transmission efficiency.
(Credit: Wikipedia/Shuli Hallak)
The feat is incredible, and although this was just a trial, it’s astonishing that the team was able to accomplish such speeds. To put it in perspective, that sort of bandwidth would allow you to transmit 44 uncompressed HD movies in one second.
We can’t help but feel like we’re on the verge of a massive expansion of Internet capabilities. We’re seeing a lot of lab tests that portend speeds many times faster than anything most people have access to, and trials like this one by BT and Alcatel-Lucent are simply mind-blowing.
It’s important to temper expectations, of course; lab speeds and trials are one thing, but real-world applications, infrastructure build-out, regulatory issues, and more are quite another, and all of the aforementioned require years of work.
Still, it’s getting easier to imagine a world where the current Internet speeds most of us can afford and have access to will be considered downright quaint, just as dial-up seems ancient to all the folks with broadband. And that’s an exciting future, indeed.