Scientists Achieve Record 186 Gbps Two-Way Data Transfer Rate

Brad Chacos

Think your USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt port delivers blazing fast transfer rates? You must not be a high-energy physicist. While the rest of the world was patiently waiting for Intel to drag Thunderbolt ports from Macs to PCs, a group of the aforementioned scientists and network engineers decided to get a little more proactive and develop a technology that transfers two-way data at a rate of 186 friggin’ Gbps per second – a new world record that makes the 10 Gbps offered by Thunderbolt absolutely sluggish.

So what exactly does that boil down to? The press release – which was penned by Caltech, although the group included researchers from the University of Victoria, the University of Michigan, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), Florida International University, and others – says that at 186 Gbps, you could transfer two million Gbps per day, the equivalent of 100,000 full Blu-ray discs, extras and all.

The team achieved the record tapping into a 100 Gbit circuit between the University of Victoria Computing Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Washington State Convention Centre in Seattle. The group managed to send 98 Gbps in one direction and 88 Gbps in the other direction, for a two-way transfer rate of 186 Gbps total. Pretty spiffy! The team's previous high-water mark was a comparatively scant 119 Gbps.

Don’t expect speeds like that to come to your desktop anytime soon, though: the group is developing the technology primarily for dealing with the staggering amount of data generated by high-end physics tests, such as the information generated by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland.

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