The researchers reportedly achieved speeds almost three million times faster than average UK home broadband connection

For many of us, the impressive speeds offered by gigabit broadband are still out of reach, with the average broadband speed in the UK still around 64 mbps. However, technology is accelerating at a blistering pace, with researchers from University College London (UCL) suggesting that terabit broadband may be on the horizon.
New research from the UCL-lead team was able to demonstrate broadband speeds of 178 terabits per second in a 25-mile fibre optic loop around their Bloomsbury lab. This speed represents an almost unfathomably huge increase in speed, with the connection around three million times faster than typical home broadband.
The increase in speed of this ‘ultra broadband’ was achieved by transmitting data in a broader range of colours than usually deployed for optical fibre, thereby substantially increasing the bandwidth.  
“It’s important because internet traffic and data has been increasing exponentially over the last 10 years but we have reached the theoretical limit,” explained lead researcher Dr Lidia Galdino. "The one other way to increase the capacity in optical fibre is increasing the range of wavelengths and colours that we can use, which is exactly what I’ve done.”
Dr Galdino believes that this form of data transmission is the future of communication systems, as society’s appetite for data continues to grow exponentially. This is particularly relevant with the advent of 5G, which promises to create an enormously connected ecosystem through the likes of the Internet of Things, with every connected device consuming additional data.
Of course, achieving these speeds in a laboratory is still a far cry from real world deployment. The researchers noted that customised signal boosters would be required at least every 25 miles for this technique to be used commercially, a costly prospect that operators would baulk at implementing. However, this is nonetheless a significant milestone and the transmission of the fasted internet speeds to date.
The researchers next goal will be to increase the distance over which this ultra broadband can operate, a process that will gradually break down the first major hurdle to commercial deployment.
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