close
close

Internet speed record would enable downloads of AAA games in 2 milliseconds

Getty Images

Internet speeds have improved a lot since the glory days of 56kbps dial-up connections. But even if you are now the lucky owner of a fast broadband connection, it still doesn't hold a candle to what engineers from Japan have been able to achieve. They claim to have built a connection using standard fiber optic cables that achieved a data transfer rate of 402Tbps – yes, that's Terabyte per second.

This incredible record was achieved by a team of engineers from Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and described in a detailed paper. Although reading this article would certainly be easier for those of us with PhDs in network engineering, the technology used to achieve the 402 Tbit/s milestone, while advanced, is based on established principles. The team used 50 kilometers (just over 30 miles) of fiber optic cable. They also used many transmission bands, signal amplifiers, and gain equalizers to maintain signal integrity.

The record rate of 402 Tbit/s or 50.25 TB/s beats the previous world record by around 25%, according to PCGamer. The total signal bandwidth reached 37.6 THz. These numbers are so large that it is difficult to put them into perspective, but being able to download 50 terabytes per second is pretty crazy. With such a connection, you could download all Red Dead Redemption 2 (120 GB) in 2.4 milliseconds. You could download your entire Steam library so fast you'd blink and miss it.

Table comparing internet speeds.
NOT

Unfortunately, your PC, my PC, or anyone else's PC can't handle that speed. Most PCs still only support 1Gbps Ethernet connections, but if you get one of the best motherboards, you might get one with 10Gbps. But even then, that's nothing compared to the 50TB/s the engineers at NICT were able to achieve, and that's only part of the problem: There are no SSDs that could support anywhere near that data transfer rate, let alone offer that kind of storage.

It's hard to imagine that we'll one day live in a world where such data transfers are actually possible at home. But two decades ago, it was also hard to imagine that we'd have 1 Gbps (or faster) Internet connections at home.

The record set by NICT's engineers is, for now, a novelty and proof that it can be done. The rest of us will have to make do with what our local ISPs can offer and the best we can do is try to increase our internet speeds in other ways.