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 are 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 the newer method comes around.
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 the 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. The 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.
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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 the rest of the world.