60 times faster internet

A development in photonic switching technology by University of Sydney scientists is being hailed as having the potential to make the Internet 60 times faster.

According to the university "It will mean almost instantaneous, error free and unlimited access to the Internet anywhere in the world." However, it will do nothing for bandwidth limitations in the access network: the problem that Australia's controversial National Broadband Network aims to alleviate.

All traffic in the Internet is routed from source to destination by routers and switches which move the packets of data onto different parts of the network according to addresses contained within the data stream. The state-of-the-art technology in use today operates at 10gbps. The University of Sydney's photonic switching technology holds the promise of being able to route and switch Internet traffic as optical signals at the rate of 640Gbps.

It has been developed by CUDOS (Centre for Ultra-high bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems) and details were announced by CUDOS director, professor, Ben Eggleton, in a paper presented to the Opto-Electronics and Communications Conference (OECC) in Sydney.

Eggleton said "This is a critical building block and a fundamental advance on what is already out there. We are talking about networks that are potentially up to 100 times faster without costing the consumer any more." He explained that "What we are doing is taking a very fast 640gbps signal and switching out every 64th bit."

The technology is the result of a scientific collaboration between CUDOS teams at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University and the Technical University of Denmark, with the support Australian Research Council (ARC) funding.

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