46.25 Mbps (megabits per second).

That’s the current average internet speed worldwide. At that speed, you can download one HD movie in about 10 minutes.

In the USA we’re a bit faster on average – clocking in at 93.98 Mbps. If you’re near that, you can download one HD movie in about 5 minutes.

Now, if you’re lucky, you might be on a fiber connection – getting speeds up to 10 Gbps. (That’s gigabits per second – 1,000 times as many as a megabit!) At that speed, you can download roughly three HD movies in one minute.

Crazy, right? We’ve come a long way since dial-up… but if recent advancements are any indication, we’ve still got a loooong way to go before we’re anywhere close to the maximum!

A new world-record internet speed

That’s right – two Australian universities (RMIT and Monash University) have just announced their successful collaboration on a new world record in internet speeds… clocking in at an INSANE 44.2 Tbps. That’s terabits per second – 1,000 times more than a gigabit and 1,000,000 times more than a megabit!

At this speed, you can download… wait for it…

33,300 full HD movies in 2 seconds.

Yes – that’s 33,000 individual movies, all at full quality. In less than 2 seconds.

That’s absolutely crazy. And it leads to one question:

How the heck did they do it?!

Image source: EE Times Europe

First off, we sadly must inform you that it’s unlikely you’ll be getting such speeds through Comcast any time soon.

That’s because the secret behind these breakneck speeds involves a photonic chip called a micro-comb.

This light-based chip is a complicated device that essentially works 80X faster than other chips due to its ability to replace the need for individual infrared lasers. While other chips send signals like a beam of light, the photonic micro-comb acts like a “rainbow” – sending multiple signals at once.

Each of the individual “beams” in the “rainbow” can carry its own communication. That allows the chip to multi-task exponentially better than any other form of digital communication we know of.

The world-record speed was accomplished using fiber cables, which are much faster than the traditional cables most of us use at home. The test was conducted in a closed connection between RMIT’s Melbourne City Campus and Monash University’s Clayton Campus.

At this point, the technology is still new, so you probably won’t see a “Tbps package” being offered for consumers any time soon. But this already has exciting applications for large-scale operations and logistics, paving the way for more exciting advancements in the future.

P.S. Want to do your own calculations about how many movies you can download? Check out the download time calculator – it’s quite fun to play with (if you’re into this sort of stuff, at least)!