Europe seems to be getting all the fiber love lately, as researchers at Deutsche Telekom hit transmission speeds of 512Gbps on a single fiber optic channel this week, with usable speeds up to 400Gbps. To put this context, that's about 77 CDs of music being transferred at once. What's even more impressive, it was accomplished under real-world conditions, sending the transmission 734km from Berlin to Hanover and back again alongside channels carrying the company's standard 10Gbps signals. Once built out, this new technology could operate on all channels of a given fiber. For Deutsche Telekom's 48-channel optical fibers, that means a theoretical throughput of 24.6Tbits on a cable thinner than a human hair.

The test was part of Deutsche Telekom's Optically Supported IP Router Interfaces (OSIRIS) research project and requires no new cable to be run; just new hardware to receive and transmit the signals. But just because the pipe is already laid, these half-a-terabit speeds won't be coming to German households anytime soon, as it was only a test of the company's new technology. Still, this could have serious implications for dealing with network backlog, as it would effectively double existing network capacity by only swapping terminal stations. Deutsche Telekom hasn't committed a timeframe as to when these speeds could be implemented for public use.