updated 10:55 am EDT, Mon April 2, 2007
160Gbps optical networks
Optical technology developed by IBM may drastically improve the speeds of even the current fastest networks. The company has developed a new transceiver chip that uses materials such indium phosphide and gallum arsenide, and is capable of bandwidth as high as 160Gbps -- eight times as fast as Verizon's fiber-optic FiOS service. This is said to be fast enough to download 30 minutes of high-definition video in a second.
Perhaps more importantly, the cost of the chip is estimated to be cheaper than even slower modern technologies: whereas a 40Gbps transceiver presently sells for $25,000, the IBM chip may cost $500-600. Its first application is expected to be in the backbone of the Internet, located in routers, switches and network servers. Use within desktops and set-top boxes may come later, however. [via SCI FI Tech]