Researchers have set a world record by transferring more than 100 terabits of data per second through a single optical fiber.
So how much data is that, exactly?
Well, 100 terabits is equivalent to 250 double-sided Blu-ray discs or approximately three solid months of HD video.
According to NewScientist, Dayou Qian of NEC managed to achieve a blazing data transmission rate of 101.7 terabits per second via 165 kilometers of fiber.
Qian accomplished this by "squeezing" light pulses from 370 separate lasers into the pulse received by the receiver.
Each laser emitted its own narrow sliver of the infrared spectrum, and each contained several polarities, phases and amplitudes of light waves to code each packet of information.
Meanwhile, Jun Sakaguchi of Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo also managed to hit the 100-terabit per second benchmark by developing a fiber with seven-light guiding cores.
Each core carried 5.6 terabits per second, yielding a total of 109 terabits per second.
"We introduced a new dimension, spatial multiplication, to increasing transmission capacity," explained Sakaguchi.
Clearly, transfer speeds of 100 terabits per second are light-years ahead of current capacities. To be sure, transfer speeds between New York and Washington, DC is only a few terabits per second.
Still, Tim Strong, of Telegeography Research in Washington, emphasized that "traffic has been growing about 50 per cent a year for the last few years." As such, network planners are always interested in new ways to significantly expand capacity.
Unfortunately, multi-core fibers are notoriously complicated to manufacture, as is amplifying signals for long-distance transmissions in either of the above-mentioned examples.
Nevertheless, NEC's Ting Wang believes the first application of 100-terabit transmission will likely occur inside the gargantuan data centers powering Google, Facebook and Amazon.