Ring the Bell: Internet speed record set using XG-FAST

The brilliant researchers at Bell Labs have broken the broadband internet speed record by over eight times the previous holder - and it was all achieved over copper landlines. At 10 gigabits per second, Bell Labs' technology is 1,000 times faster than your typical broadband speeds.

It even leaves the fastest package available to consumers, Google Fiber, in the dust by over 10x quicker. The new technology is an extension of G-FAST by Bell Labs known as "XG-FAST" and gives broadband companies the ability to provide fiber-optic level speeds over existing copper landline infrastructure.

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs: “Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to ‘invent the future’, with breakthroughs that are 10 times better than are possible today. Our demonstration of 10 Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible.”

This is a truly admirable breakthrough which can save companies like Verizon and FIOS from spending unfathomable amounts of dollars digging up the country to lay fiber infrastructure. Due to increasingly bandwidth intensive applications such as Netflix; this was previously thought necessary.

Most telecoms companies already use the "old-fashioned" copper wires to bring Internet, TV, and phone service to customers' homes and offices. XG-FAST provides its 10 gigabits per second speed over a distance of up to 30 meters which means - if there's a fiber connection on the street - it would be enough to deliver the lightning-fast internet. At 70 meters distance the top speed drops to one gigabits per second.

Commenting on the achievement, Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks business said: “The Bell Labs speed record is an amazing achievement, but crucially in addition they have identified a new benchmark for ‘real-world’ applications for ultra-broadband fixed access. XG-FAST can help operators accelerate FTTH deployments, taking fiber very close to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home. By making 1 gigabit symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access.”

Don't get too excited yet, however. The test was performed in a lab and in the real world other factors may reduce Internet speeds. It is also yet to be approved by the International Telecommunication Union who sets the standards for new telecoms technologies.

How important do you think this breakthrough from Bell Labs will be? Let us know in the comments.

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14 Jul 2014, 6:24 p.m.

When will this technology be available to the excited commoners?