Fast internet is fast. Google Fiber’s gigabit connections? That’s like driving a sports car compared to the go-cart-speed connection that’s probably in your house. But new technology from IBM opens the door for connections that are beyond fast. Comparatively, it’s like flying a fighter jet.
IBM researchers in Switzerland just unveiled the prototype for an energy efficient analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that enables connections as fast as 400 gigabits per second. That’s 400 times faster than Google Fiber and about 5,000 times faster than the average U.S. connection. That’s fast enough to download a two-hour-long, 4K ultra high definition movie in mere seconds. In short, that’s incomprehensibly fast.
The ADC chip itself was actually built for loftier purposes than downloading episodes of Planet Earth, though. It’s actually bound for the Square Kilometer Array in Australia and South Africa to help us peer hundreds of millions of light years into space, hopefully to give us a better idea of what the universe was like around the time of the Big Bang. This massive radio telescope will devour data, too. It’s expected to gather over an exabyte every day when it’s finished in 2024. That’s over 100 billion gigabytes.
Believe it or not, 400 gigabit isn’t even the fastest connection the world has seen. For that you’ll have to go to the United Kingdom where researchers recently developed 1.4 terabit internet using commercial-grade hardware. That’s warp speed. [ZDNet]