UK university breaks records for internet speed

A scientific team based at Birmingham’s Aston University recently reached a ground-breaking milestone for data transmission, in the process setting an all-new benchmark for the world.

As part of a collaboration with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology of Japan, and Nokia Bell Labs of the USA, the UK university’s team transferred data successfully at a never-before recorded speed of 301 million Mbps.

To put the event in perspective, this unprecedented data transfer speed is around 4.5 million times as fast as the UK’s average broadband speed, and beats the American average by approximately a million times.

The collaborator’s secret to such a landmark achievement rests in its innovative use of wavelength bands, that are not commonly employed in conventional fibre optic systems.

Aston University researcher Ian Phillips explained that the new wavelength bands are comparable to different colours of light transmitted via the optical fibre. Data transferred was sent using an optical fibre via two extra spectral bands, called S-band and E-band, on top of the currently commercially available L- and C-bands.

Additionally, Aston University scientists have devised an optical amplifier that enables data wavelengths to work in the E-band, a wavelength band approximately three times broader than standard wavelengths presently used to transmit data.

This recent achievement is now the first ever time that E-band channels have been replicated within a controlled testing environment.
Even better still, the ingenious approach does not need new infrastructure. This means it could potentially provide substantially faster internet speeds for businesses and homes in the UK using existing fibre networks.