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IBM claims world record data transfer speed of 500Gbps in lab test

Researchers at IBM Labs claim to have achieved a world record data transfer speed of up to 400Gbps using a new analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) chip.

IBM unveiled the advanced ADC at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

The results were achieved under lab conditions, with IBM working in collaboration with Swiss research institution the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne on the project.

According to IBM, the new device is four times faster than existing technologies and is equivalent to a feature-length 4K film being downloaded in seconds.

"As big data and Internet traffic continues to grow exponentially, future networking standards have to support higher data rates," IBM explained.

"To support the increase in traffic, ultra-fast and energy efficient analogue-to-digital converter technology will enable complex digital equalisation across long-distance fibre channels."

IBM added that the technology could come to market in just 12 months, though it's unlikely to see deployment outside of a few high-level industries like defence and astronautics.

"The radio data that the SKA collects from deep space is expected to produce 10 times the global Internet traffic and the prototype ADC would be an ideal candidate to transport the signals fast and at very low power - a critical requirement considering the thousands of antennas which will be spread over 1,900 miles," IBM noted.

News of IBM's breakthrough follows hot on the heels of a number of other important networking and telecoms developments, with UK researchers recently claiming to have achieved speeds of 10.5Gbps via Li-Fi technology and South Korea pushing for 5G rollout by 2020.