The race is on to build a faster, better Internet. While Google is working on bringing super-high-speed connections to homes in select cities, IBM is working on a technology that could make the Internet all around faster everywhere.
It has created a new chip that beefs up Internet speeds to 200 to 400 gigabits per second, about four times faster than today’s speeds, IBM says. Plus it sucks up hardly any power.
At this speed, a 2-hour ultra-high-definition movie (about 160 gigabytes) would download in a few seconds. It would only take a few seconds to download 40,000 songs, IBM says.
The chip fits into a part of the Internet that runs between data centres, not your computer or home router.
The latest version of the chip is only a prototype right now, so it will be a while before it gets installed and the Internet gets better.
However, IBM says it has already signed on a customer for an earlier version of the technology, a company called Semtech. Semtech makes a device that converts analogue signals (like radio signals) to digital signals that can be piped across the Internet.
Equally interesting is that IBM says it will manufacturer the chip for the Semtech deal in the U.S. at its semiconductor fab in East Fishkill, N.Y.
That’s of note because there’s been speculation that IBM may be looking for a buyer for its semiconductor manufacturing unit. Breakthrough technology like this could either help the unit grow revenues, allowing IBM to keep it, or allow IBM to sell it for a higher price.