Japan sets new record for internet speed at 319 terabits per second

Ever wonder why the internet, as a whole, didn’t break when COVID-19 hit?

In a matter of weeks, online habits changed dramatically. Kids went to school on Zoom; adults followed suit at work. Desperate to escape, people binged on Netflix. Doomscrolling is now a word in the dictionary. All this happened virtually overnight.

Demand for internet bandwidth went through the roof — as much as 60% by last May according to the OECD — and yet, the internet seemed…mostly fine. Sure, there were people behind the scenes managing these traffic increases, but generally, the infrastructure to handle the surge was already in place. There were no headlines of mass outages or server farms catching fire. The reason? Good planning, many years in advance.

The basic assumption, and it’s proven to be a good one, is that more people will want to send more stuff over the internet tomorrow, Tuesday, or in 10 years. We may not know how many people or what stuff exactly, but growth has generally been a good guess.

To meet tomorrow’s demands, we have to start building a more capable internet today. And by we, I mean researchers in labs around the world. So it is that each year we’re duly notified of a new eye-watering, why-would-we-need-that speed record.

In August of last year, a University College London (UCL) team, set the top mark at 178 terabits per second. Now, a year later, researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) say they’ve nearly doubled the record with speeds of 319 terabits per second.

It’s worth putting that into perspective for a moment. When the UCL team announced their results last year, they said you could download Netflix’s entire catalog in a second with their tech. The NICT team has doubled that Netflix-library-per-second speed.

Read more here.

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