Siemens Sets New Network Speed Record

Germany's Siemens AG has set a new speed record for electrical processing of data through a fiber-optic cable, it said on Wednesday, opening the possibility of cheaper Internet and data networks.

Siemens said in a statement it had processed data using exclusively electrical means at 107 gigabits per second -- roughly two full DVDs per second -- and sent it over a single optical fiber channel in a 100 mile-long (161-kilometre) U.S. network, the first time outside of a laboratory.

Online games, music and video downloads are generating increasing amounts of Internet traffic, creating a need for ever faster and affordable transmission.

The test, 2.5 times faster than a previous maximum transmission performance per channel, was done in cooperation with Germany's Micram Microelectronic, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications and Eindhoven Technical University of the Netherlands.

Siemens said the advantage of its method of using electrical processing only was that it removed the need to split signals into multiple, lower data-rate signals to avoid bottlenecks -- which makes transmission slower and more expensive.

"Such a system would be particularly interesting for the future

100-gigabit Ethernet on which the telecommunication providers are currently working," Siemens said.

Ethernet networking technology powers the vast majority of local computer networks, such as corporate networks, but is increasingly important for larger networks, due to its flexibility, as the technology becomes cheaper.

Siemens said it expected the first products based on the prototype could be on the market within a few years.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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