Australia creates world’s fastest internet speed from a single optical chip

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Researchers from Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities have successfully tested and recorded Australia’s fastest internet data speed, and that of the world, from a single optical chip – capable of downloading 1000 high definition movies in a split second.

This is expected not only to fast-track the next 25 years of Australia’s telecommunications capacity, but also the possibility for this home-grown technology to be rolled out across the world.

In light of the pressures being placed 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), Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell (RMIT) and Professor David Moss (Swinburne) were able to achieve a data speed of 44.2 Terabits per second (Tbps) from a single light source.

They used a new device that replaces 80 lasers with one single piece of equipment known as a micro-comb,

44.2 Terabits per second!

This technology has the capacity to support the high-speed internet connections of 1.8 million households in Melbourne, Australia, at the same time, and billions across the world during peak periods.

Demonstrations of this magnitude are usually confined to a laboratory. But, for this study, researchers achieved these quick speeds using existing communications infrastructure where they were able to efficiently load-test the network.

They used a new device that replaces 80 lasers with one single piece of equipment known as a micro-comb, which is smaller and lighter than existing telecommunications hardware. It was planted into and load-tested using existing infrastructure, which mirrors that used by the NBN.

What our research demonstrates is the ability for fibres that we already have in the ground, thanks to the NBN project, to be the backbone of communications networks now and in the future. We’ve developed something that is scalable to meet future needs

Dr Bill Corcoran

Distinguished Professor Mitchell said reaching the optimum data speed of 44.2 Tbps showed the potential of existing Australian infrastructure. The future ambition of the project is to scale up the current transmitters from hundreds of gigabytes per second towards tens of terabytes per second without increasing size, weight or cost.

You can see a copy of the paper online here.