Japan just doubled the world record for the fastest internet speed

Blue light streak, Fiber optic, Speed line, Futuristic background, Illustration.


How many terabits per second new fiber optic cables can transmit.



Researchers working at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have shattered the world record for the fastest internet speeds, managing a mind-boggling 319 terabits per second (Tbps) — almost doubling the previous record of 178 Tbps set just under a year ago in August 2020.

“NICT has built a long-distance transmission system around a 4-core optical fiber with a standard cladding diameter to exploit wider transmission bandwidth,” announced in a press release last month, adding that information also did not deteriorate or slow over lab-constructed distances as far as 3,001km (or roughly 1,864 miles).

While that kind of speed could hypothetically allow someone to download around 7,000 high-definition movies in less than a second, scientists note that the advancements are actually intended for transferring huge amounts of data across large distances rather than improving your Stadia connection.

Additionally, more fine-tuning will be needed before the NICT’s 4-core optical fiber can be implemented in any real-world setting. As Motherboard notes, the tested distances so far have been all lab-based, and traveling huge distances through environments like oceans still needs to be taken into account before its purpose can be fully realized.

Expensive, but no major upgrades needed — Of course, something as cutting edge as a 1-core optical cable receiving four times’ the power isn’t going to come cheap for a while. But although the 4-core cabling is pricey, scientists say the new design can fit within “standard cladding,” and can be cabled into existing systems, meaning that very little overhaul will be needed once the technology is more widely available.

Expect to see this “beyond 5G” — Although 5G is only a comparatively recent development, upgraded fiber optics almost certainly won’t be seen until at least 6G offerings become the new norm... which is expected to show up around 2030 or so.

Engadget brought up the fact that all is not for naught, optimistically suggesting we “may see the benefits simply by moving to faster internet access that doesn't choke when there's a surge of users.”

Then again... while we’d love to see some improvements on the nation’s notoriously lagging (get it?) internet infrastructure, recent studies indicate we’ve got a long road ahead of us before we see substantial, widespread change. Still, there are at least some decent options like T-Mobile’s fixed wireless option for those looking to improve their slow speeds at home... assuming, of course, they’re in a supported neighborhood.