New technology developed by Japanese engineers has obliterated the previous data transmission speed record.

Along an optical cable more than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) long, the team achieved a data transmission speed of 319 terabits per second (Tb/s). This not only smashes the previous record of an already jaw-dropping 178 Tb/s, the technology is compatible with existing infrastructure, which means that it could be upgraded relatively easily.

Demand for faster speeds with marine fiber have been the focus for years. The reason is that faster internet backbones are needed to make the global internet a reality.

NICT successfully completed the first S, C and L-bands transmission over long-haul distances via a 4-core optical fibre, in the standard diameter of 0.125 mm. They said that the adoption of both erbium and thulium doped-fibre amplifiers and distributed Raman amplification made it possible for them. 

NICT and research groups around the world have begun to explore S-band transmission, leading to several new records for transmission capacity in optical fibres, but transmission distance has been limited to only a few tens of kilometres.

Researchers added that the 4-core optical fibre, with standard cladding diameter, can be cabled with existing equipment, and hoped it will enable practical high data-rate transmission soon. The new research, they said, will also contribute to the realisation of the backbone communications system, which is necessary for the spread of new communication services Beyond 5G.

The NICT teams believe even faster speeds are possible as the race towards petabit internet continues.