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Europe and Japan Aiming to Build 100Gbps Fibre Optic Internet

Thursday, Jul 4th, 2013 (8:43 am) - Score 6,980

The European Commission (EC) and Japan have announced the launch of six joint research projects, supported by £15.3m+ (€18m) in funding, that aim to build networks which are “5000 times faster than today’s average European broadband ISP speed (100Gbps compared to 19.7Mbps)“.

The telecoms experts among you will know that 100Gbps+ (Gigabits per second) fibre optic links are nothing new but most of these are major submarine or national cable links. The new effort appears to be looking further ahead, with a view to improving the efficiency of such networks and perhaps even bringing them closer to homes.

It’s frequently noted that demand for data is putting a growing strain on broadband connections (the EU expects data traffic to grow 12-fold by 2018), which is partly fuelled by ever faster fixed line ISP and mobile broadband connectivity. But technology is always evolving to keep pace.

Neelie Kroes, EC Vice-President, said:

Our Future Internet should know no barriers, least of all barriers created because we did not prepare for the data revolution.”

The Six Funded EU/Japan Projects

    Aims to enable fibre optic networks at more than 100Gbps.
  • MiWEBA
    Will handle capacity by making better use of existing radio frequencies in order to boost ultra-high speed and mobile connections.
    Will explore new ways to enhance personal data security in sensitive environments such as medical history records by developing new metrics to evaluate threats and potential impact of cyber attacks.
  • GreenICN
    Will try to ensure an efficient use of energy in information networks. It will test network reliability in post-disaster situations (earthquakes, hurricanes) when energy resources are scarce and network performance is vital.
  • ClouT
    Will try to allow real-time control of sensors enabling smart city operations such as energy use, traffic flow or emergencies. To achieve this target, the project will integrate Cloud Computing and Internet of Things features.
    Will set up joint EU-Japan experimental platforms that will help universities and research centres test new network technologies. Such new platforms will improve researchers’ use of their experimental facilities.

A quick glance at each of the projects reveals that this seems to be more about improving what already exists, yet in some circles even 100Gbps is beginning to look old-hat. Never the less many of the improvements mentioned above will, if ever adopted, eventually filter down to benefit everybody.

After all, several UK ISPs are already offering 1Gbps home connections (e.g. Hyperoptic, CityFibre / Fibreband in Bournemouth, Gigaclear etc.) and that’s only 99 fold slower than a 100Gbps link. In the realm of evolving internet access services that’s only a short hop, unless your infrastructure is still limited by a copper last mile.

But there’s little point in having a 100Gbps link (don’t worry we won’t see this in homes for a fair few years) if the ISP can’t supply the capacity for it and that’s another part of the new effort. It’s important to stress that this is not about tackling today’s needs; it’s all about the future. Not so long ago we were still stuck on 50Kbps dialup.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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