Can Data Actually Travel At the Speed of Light

Anyone who used the Internet back in the late eighties and early nineties will understand how slow it was, and how much it has improved since those times. Nowadays, broadband has overtaken dial-up and there is a wide range of different communication methods that are available to customers today.

Of course, it is important to understand that a lot of the technology that is used provides a wide range of different options. Business communications is just one of these options and one that a lot of people will be interested in. At present, some companies like Verizon state that their speed goes at the speed of light. This is not true due to a number of factors, but at the moment there have been new developments from the University of Southampton. Scientists working here state that they have found a new method of providing fast-as-light data transfer speeds. It is important to mention this before we continue, however; this does not mean that you will get faster Internet. These greater speeds are more than likely going to be used for short-distance transfers as well as the powering of supercomputers. This is simply due to the fact that the method these scientists have come up with is not going to be effective over large distances. It means that traditional fiber optic cables for Internet use will be around for a little bit longer until newer method comes around.

Internet Data Can Travel At The Speed Of Light?
Internet Data Can Travel At The Speed Of Light?

So How Does It Work?

Regardless of whether we will get faster Internet or not, this development is promising especially when it comes to powering supercomputers and more. A lot of the time, data is transferred through fiber optic cables via the use of photons. These photons travel through a glass core. When light goes through a medium such as glass, it ends up slowing down considerably. If a company claims that data is transmitted at the speed of light, they are not stating a fact. Data is only transmitted at light speed when it passes through a vacuum. It loses a lot of its speed when it passes through a medium such as glass or plastic. Scientists have come up with which can help to improve the overall speed.

The Hollow Tubes

Since glass and other mediums tend to actually slow down the speed of light, hollow tubes have been used instead. These mean that, at least over a certain distance, the speed of photons can be increased considerably. Of course, this is a method that has been tried before but certain issues did arise with it. The absence of a refractive index was one of the main reasons that it did not work. Refractive index refers to the ability of light to actually bounce around within a medium. Since there was no medium there to begin with, there was a considerable problem.

With the new fibers that have been designed by Southampton scientists, it is now possible for the refractive index to work. This is done by making the fibers possible to bend. These fibers are bent because they have a special type of rim which can end up working out quite well.

This is good news for data transfer in general. It means that calculations can be worked out a lot faster. While this is still in its early stages, an increase in transmission speeds is always a good thing. It only helps to further our current usage of the Internet.

Image Source: BigStock

Author Bio:

Michelle Patterson blogs on technology extensively. She understands and writes about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with a few leading companies to understand emerging technology, and transfer that knowledge to rest of the world.

Published by Michelle Patterson

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

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1 Comment

  1. Since 1983 the accepted value of the speed of light (c) is
    huge: 299792.458 km. per second in vacuum,
    so what is the distance should be covered by the speed of light in a day, it is
    an out of imagination value, no distance on the surface of earth is suitable,
    it necessitates to be described; an astronomical measure by the motion of a
    celestial objet with a known motion, hence the moon is the choice; because it
    is the nearest celestial object and its motion around earth is known well.

    Physics; the light and all physical forces in nature have a unified
    uppermost magnitude of speed, in vacuum, i.e. in a system of motion isolated
    from any outside effect. So, to use the E-M system as a measure in a Balanced
    Equation with light; it should be isolated also from any outside effect, i.e. as it was reckoned
    before that earth has no motion around sun, and the moon is devoid from the variation ratio in
    distance; that cannot be detected by the naked eye.

    By using the isolated E-M system as a measure to the
    distance covered by the speed of light in a day; the motion should be relative
    to a far star, hence the moon’s mean orbital velocity should be analyzed in the
    original direction after a cycle; and the rotation period of the earth
    (a sidereal day) is considered, which is: 86164.09966
    seconds. According to NASA; the moon’s average orbital velocity is about: 1.023 km./ seconds (Revised 08-01-2014)4,
    By calculation using the value: 1.022794272 (about 1.023)
    km./ seconds; the distance covered by the speed of light in a day is comparable
    to the distance covered by the moon in 1000 lunar years (12000 cycles), as
    the lunar year is considered in the lunar calendar since ancient times as 12
    cycles of the moon around earth.

    The average moon’s velocity is: 1.022794272 km./ seconds, the basic ratio is: 0.8915725423; so the basic moon’s velocity is:
    (1.022794272 × 0.8915725423) = 0.9118952893
    km./ seconds. The moon’s revolution
    period (T’) is: 27.32166088 mean
    earth days = 27.32166088 × 24 × 60 × 60 = 2360591.5
    seconds, hence the length of the basic moon’s orbit (L’) after one cycle = v’ × T’ = 0.9118952893
    × 2360591.5 = 2152612.269
    km., the lunar distance in 12000 cycles = 2583134723 km., then
    the speed of light in vacuum is: 2583134723/ 86164.09966 = 299792.458 km. per second, which is
    the exact known and accepted value in Physics for speed of light in vacuum
    since 1983.

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