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A combined research team from Germany and Japan has broken the world record for data transmission after sending a signal at 2.56 terabits per second (Tbps) over a 160km fibre optic link.

The achievement doubles the previous benchmark of 1.28Tbps and represents a transmission rate more than 50 times faster than the fastest commercial broadband connections in use today, 40Gbps.

Boffins from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications in Berlin teamed up with eggheads from Fujitsu in Japan to achieve the feat, which was secured using advances in modulation techniques. The team used phase modulation to pack four recognisable states into a single laser light pulse instead of only two (on and off).

"Faster data rates are hugely important for tomorrow's telecommunications," explained Professor Hans-Georg Weber from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, who led the research. Weber said the high performance systems the researchers are developing will be needed once the growth in internet traffic pushes up the necessary speed of back haul links into the terabit range. ®

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