Japanese team breaks data transmission record at 402 Tbps

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have set a new data transmission world record using commercially available optical fibre. The team achieved a data rate of 402 terabits per second.

The breakthrough, led by NICT’s Photonic Network Laboratory, was made possible by utilizing all transmission bands of standard optical fibres and employing advanced amplification technologies. This method opens up previously unused wavelength regions, which could be integrated into future telecommunication networks.

NICT emphasized the potential impact, stating that this technology could significantly expand the capacity of optical communication infrastructure to meet the rapidly increasing demand for data services.

For context, Ofcom reported the average UK home broadband speed in 2023 was 69.4 Mbps, with the fastest advertised speed at 1.13 Gbps. The new record is approximately 400,000 times faster than the highest advertised speed. At 402 Tb/s, it’s possible to download around 12,500 films in just one second, which is more than three times the number of movies available on Netflix.

While the record was set using standard optical fibre, it was achieved under optimal lab conditions. Further research is needed to bring even a fraction of this potential to real-world applications.

NICT researchers aim to extend this high-speed transmission capability to trans-oceanic distances in the future.