Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Gathering to set 200Gbps Internet world record

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Even though Internet speeds have increased significantly in recent years, the computer party is still a very popular event for taking your computer along and playing games. You only have to look to QuakeCon every year to see that. However, id software’s event is by no means the biggest as it only focuses on games.

The largest party/festival is the all-encompassing DreamHack held in Sweden every year, and that is closely followed by The Gathering held in Norway. Both events have some healthy competition going to outdo each other. In particular, the speed of the Internet connection on offer is the focus of this competition.

Last year The Gathering set a world record by setting up the world’s fastest Internet connection at 110Gbit/s for its 5000+ attendees. DreamHack then went and beat it with 120Gbit/s. This year The Gathering want to ensure they win back the crown and manage to keep it for a whole 12 months at least. To do that they are promising a 200Gbit/s connection.

To put that in context, a 5MB MP3 could be downloaded 5,120 times every second using such a fat pipe. It’s also more bandwidth than the whole of Thailand’s 60 million people manage to get along with (158Gbit/s).

The high speed connection is made possible by Altibox, which runs an all-fiber network through Norway. But even that can’t achieve 200Gbit/s alone as Norway’s infrastructure isn’t good enough (yet). For additional capacity, Level 3 has been brought in to offer bandwidth from outside of the country.

As you can imagine, the 200Gbit/s pipe is only temporary, but should allow all companies involved to learn something about how to handle a network of this speed. It is, after all, inevitable that one day 200Gbit/s will be the norm as networks around the world continue to improve.

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