Australia 'records fastest internet speed ever' - BBC News
Researchers hope the study offers a glimpse into how internet connections could look in the future.
Image copyrightGetty Images Researchers in Australia claim they have recorded the fastest ever internet data speed. A team from Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities logged a data speed of 44.2 terabits per second (Tbps). At that speed, users could download more than 1,000 high-definition movies in less than a second. According to Ofcom, the average UK broadband speed currently is around 64 megabits per second (Mbps) - a fraction of that recorded in the recent study. Australia lies in the middle of global rankings for internet speeds, and slow connections are a regular source of complaints from users. Researchers said they achieved the new record speed by using a device that replaces around 80 lasers found in some existing telecoms hardware, with a single piece of equipment known as a 'micro-comb'. The micro-comb was planted into and tested - outside the laboratory - using existing infrastructure, similar to that used by Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). The result was the highest amount of data ever produced by a single optical chip, which are used in modern fibre-optic broadband systems around the world. The Australian team hope their findings offer a glimpse into how internet connections could look in the future. While the data speed far outstrips any reasonable consumer need in today's world, Bill Corcoran, lecturer in electrical and computer systems at Monash University, said it could ultimately help transform a wide variety of industries - as modern life continues to put increasing pressure on bandwidth infrastructure. The global lockdown measures imposed during the coronavirus pandemic has seen the internet infrastructure come under unprecedented strain. "We're currently getting a sneak peek of how the infrastructure for the internet will hold up in two to three years' time, due to the unprecedented number of people using the internet for remote work, socialising and streaming," said Mr Corcoran. "What our research demonstrates is the ability for fibres that we already have in the ground... to be the backbone of communications networks now and in the future." "And it's not just Netflix we're talking about here," he added. "This data can be used for self-driving cars and future transportation, and it can help the medicine, education, finance, and e-commerce industries - as well as enable us to read with our grandchildren from kilometres away." Professor David Moss, of Swinburne University, described the findings as "an enormous breakthrough". "Micro-combs offer enormous promise for us to meet the world's insatiable demand for bandwidth."
Coronavirus: Woman's 'privilege' to be part of vaccine trial - BBC News
Lydia Guthrie says she wanted to "play a small part" in the search for a vaccine against coronavirus.
Image copyrightLydia GuthrieImage caption Lydia Guthrie is one of 500 people taking part in the Oxford University project to test a potential vaccine A participant in the human trials of a potential vaccine for Covid-19 says "it feels like a privilege" to be involved. Lydia Guthrie is one of 500 people expected to take part in the Oxford University project. Researchers said the trial would give "valuable information" on a vaccine's safety and ability to generate an immune response against Covid-19. Ms Guthrie told the BBC there were "small risks" to her health but she felt the trial was "well managed". The mother of two said there was a "slight risk" that if she contracted Covid-19 she "might get it slightly more seriously" due to being vaccinated. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was "throwing everything" at developing a vaccine, with the hope that one could be available for front-line workers and the most vulnerable people before the end of the year. He said two leading vaccine developments at UK universities - Imperial College London and the University of Oxford - would receive a total of £42.5m to support their trials. Image copyrightSean EliasImage caption Ministers hope a vaccine could be available for front-line workers and the most vulnerable people before the end of 2020 Ms Guthrie said she applied to be part of the Oxford trial after spotting an advert on Twitter. "I just had a really strong sense that if I could, I would like to to play a small part as an individual in the search for a vaccine," she said. She added she "would have to be crazy not to have some worries", but said doctors had been clear and thorough about the processes and risks involved. Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, said the trial team had "exceptional experience of a rapid vaccine response", such as to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. "This is an even greater challenge," he said. "Vaccines are being designed from scratch and progressed at an unprecedented rate. The upcoming trial will be critical for assessing the feasibility of vaccination against Covid-19 and could lead to early deployment."