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MIT Breakthrough Could Make Internet 1,000 Times Faster
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Written by Daniel   
Monday, 05 July 2010 18:31

From Daily Tech

Tech could also save power -- a virtual data center dream -- and opens the door to incredibly fast file transfers

The ever-increasing demand for data has scientists at top research centers like CERN and MIT racing to develop better technologies.  An team led by Vincent Chan, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at MIT, just made a breakthrough that could eliminate the slowest component in the current internet infrastructure, bumping speeds by as much as 100 to 1,000 fold.

 



The majority of high-bandwidth, high speed traffic is delivered along bundles of optical cables.  These signals can go a long way, but periodically they come to an intersection and have to be redirected.  It's hard to reroute light, so currently these require converting the signal back to an electric signal, rerouting, and finally converting back to an optical signal.  All of this requires extra power and significant slows the internet down.

What Chan figured is called "flow switching" and it sounds like common sense, but surprisingly hasn't widely been suggested or thought of before.  The idea here would be to take heavy traffic zones and establish a one-way dedicated connection.  For example major cities like Chicago, Miami, New York City, Detroit might have a straight path to California's Silicon Valley.  And Silicon Valley might have a straight path back to them.  Without the need for major rerouting, the internet would become dramatically faster and more energy efficient.

States Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., "If this can truly jack up Internet data speeds by 100 times, that would have a huge impact on the usability of the Net.  We'd see the era of 3D computing and fully immersive Internet experiences come much sooner.... If this turns out to be practical, it could be a very big step forward."

Chan comments, "With bigger applications and more bottlenecks, you could buy extra bandwidth if you pay through the nose, but that's not something every user could do.  Sure, you can increase the data rate, but it's expensive. With this new architecture, we can speed up the Internet but make high-speed access cheaper."

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