Researchers in Bell Labs have used a technology similar to noise cancelling headphones to increase the bandwidth on their network to a stonking 400 Gigabits.
Apparently they need to stream a lot of, er, documentaries, in Bell Labs these days and the team hit on the idea of “phase conjugation”.
According to Nature this means sending two streams of data through a single fibre optic pipe.
They reasoned that one of the problems of networking is that to send data any distance you need a pit of power. When you add the juice the signal starts to get noisy and break up.
But if they send a copy of the data on other streams and superimpose them at the end, they can filter out the noise by comparing the streams to each other.
So far the method has hit 21.7 terabits of bandwith and has been sent over 7,954 miles of fibre. That means that it will work over a trans-oceanic line and trunk lines across the country.
It means that it certainly could speed up the internet without having to lay too much more fibre but would slow down as traffic hits a town. Town and last mile networking will still be dependent on new fibre upgrades being touted by Google, but it means that there will be fewer bottle necks once they hit the wider world.