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What do you look for in a new property – big gardens, ample parking, close to amenities or simply a nice well built house. Well I saw a house last month in my home town and I very much wanted to move there. Sure it wasn’t the nicest place and it was quite a bit smaller than my current abode but it had one huge advantage – it was next door to the telephone exchange. I was of course dreaming about the huge internet speeds the residents must get there compared with my pathetic stream situated about a mile away.
My obsession with internet speeds is partly due to the fact everyone seems to get faster throughput than me, even if they have no interest at all in speed. So a new technology has caught my eye promising to get rid of one of the problems that restricts my internet access – line noise.
The technology is actually not that new because it has existed in noise cancelling headphones for years. The basic idea is that these headphones use a microphone to pick up any external sound that are within range. An inverse set of noises is then sent to cancel out the background noise. The result is you only hear the headphone noise and none of the stuff happening in the background. If you’ve never tried them it’s quite impressive the technology really does work.
Researchers are investigating whether the same thing can be done with the internet and the fibre optic cable many of us use. They believe that sending twin light beams down the cable would eliminate the external ’noise’ that is generated by transmitting data and which ultimately reduces speed significantly. If the noise can be cancelled out by this method internet speeds would increase dramatically.
My one worry is that it sounds so simple, so obvious – so why hasn’t someone done this before. It’s something that has surprised the people working on this new technology at Bell Laboratories and given it the funky title of phase conjugation. It would certainly get an order from me, as I sit watching my computer desperately trying to download some files, trying to watch online British TV abroad – made possible by this BBC VPN program from my connection currently and there’s a lot of background noise – mainly me swearing a lot!
Using VPNs – BBC News Streaming