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German ISP Reaches New Speed Milestone

In a field test for infrastructure and standards upgrades, Kabel Deutschland has announced reaching a new real-world speed milestone for cable providers.

How fast is your current internet connection? Does it meet your needs? Chances are it does, but as history shows, speeds are constantly increasing. However, this latest milestone is insane, considering that the average home connection is 100Mbps or less.

Kabel Deutschland, a German cable operator, has claimed to be the first ISP in the world to successfully create a broadband download speed of 4,700Mbps in a real-world field test. Let me put that in perspective for you: most modern consumer computer network interface cards, wired or wireless, are only capable of using 1Gbps, or 1,024Mbps; in layman’s terms, four computers downloading at full speed could not use up the bandwidth available on this connection.

Technically, Kabel Deutschland hasn’t provided the fastest real-world connection. That honor belongs to Sigbritt Löthberg, whose son arranged for a 40Gbps fiber connection to be sent straight to her house in 2007; he said he sent his 75-year-old mother the connection, roughly 10 times as fast as the Kabel Deutchsland connection, to prove that fiber is viable for residential connections.

The new Kabel Deutschland connection wasn’t for residential use, however. It was set up for a local school as a field test for an upgraded cable network using the 862MHz spectrum, channel bonding, and the EuroDocsis 3.0 standard. Crucially, the test proved that upgrades didn’t require new civil engineering work. The company did not specify how many channels had been bonded, which could be significant, since some capacity of the network would need to be left open for other cable services, such as TV signals.

In a statement to press, Lorenz Glatz, the CTO of Kabel Deutschland, said that “the Schwerin field test shows that an 862MHz upgraded cable network is able to broadcast download speeds of up to 4.7Gbps. Using this speed, a DVD could theoretically be downloaded within eight seconds,” he continued, although, “current standard laptops or modems cannot even process these high speeds. It will take many more years until users find online services and web content that need[s] a download speed of up to 4.7Gbps.”

The question of whether or not ISPs could provide speeds like this profitably is often swept aside by the excitement for the new possibilities, although at the moment it’s fairly obvious that speeds such as this are not possible in a residential or even commercial sense. Despite this, and despite the fact that no one could fully utilize such a connection at home, it’s fun to think about. I mean, who wouldn’t want such a ridiculously fast connection?

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