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Australian researchers have successfully tested and recorded the world’s fastest internet data rate from a single optical chipAble to download 1,000 HD movies in a fraction of a second.

In light of the pressures on the world’s internet infrastructure, recently highlighted by isolation policies as a result of Covid-19, the research team led by Dr. Bill Corcoran (Monash University), Professor Arnan Mitchell (RMIT) and Professor David Moss (Swinburne University of Technology) were able to achieve a data rate of 44.2 terabits per second (Tbps) from a single light source.

This technology has the ability to support high-speed internet connections from 1.8 million households in Melbourne, Australia at the same time, and billions worldwide during peak periods, according to the authors, who publish results in Nature Communications.

Demonstrations of this magnitude are generally limited to a laboratory. But for this study, the researchers achieved these fast speeds using the existing communications infrastructure where they were able to efficiently test the network.

They used a new device that replaces 80 lasers with a single team known as micro comb, which is smaller and lighter than existing telecommunications hardware. It was tested under load using existing infrastructure, reflecting that used by NBN, the Australian open broadband data access project. It is the first time that a micro-comb has been used in a field test and it has the largest amount of data produced from a single optical chip.

“We are currently getting a sneak peek at how the internet infrastructure will be maintained in two to three years, due to the unprecedented number of people using the Internet for remote work, socialization, and streaming. It really shows us that we need to scale the capacity of our internet connections “Bill Corcoran, senior co-author of the study and professor of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University, said in a statement.

“What our research shows is the capacity of the fibers that we already have in the field, thanks to the NBN project, to be the backbone of communication networks now and in the future. We have developed something that is scalable to meet future needs. “

“And it’s not just Netflix that we’re talking about here: it’s the widest scale what we use our communication networks for. This information can be used for autonomous cars and future transportation and can help the medicine, education, finance, and e-commerce industries as well as allow us to read with our grandchildren miles away. “

To illustrate the impact that optical microcombs have on optimizing communication systems, the researchers installed 76.6 km of “dark” optical fibers between RMIT’s Melbourne City campus and the Clayton campus of Monash University. The optical fibers were provided by the Australian Academic Research Network.

Within these fibers, researchers they placed the micro comb, contributed by Swinburne University, as part of a broad international collaboration, acting as a rainbow made up of hundreds of high-quality single-chip infrared lasers. Each ‘laser’ has the ability to be used as a separate communication channel. The researchers were able to send maximum data for each channel, simulating the maximum use of the internet, through 4 THz of bandwidth.