Scientists at Caltech managed to squeeze 186Gbps of data through a fiber optic network link between Victoria, B.C and Seattle, WA. This achievement marks the highest speed transfer ever over a long-range network, breaking the previous record of 119Gbps which was also set by the same Caltech team.
The impressive figure was not just data sent one way, but rather the sum of simultaneously sending 86Gbps of data to the University of Victoria and receiving 100Gbps at the Washington State Convention Center. While the 186Gbps link was not fully bi-directional, the highest possible transfer in any given direction was still a whopping 100Gbps, a limit imposed by the networking switches used. The total amount of data transferred during the demonstration was 4.42 petabytes.
The team utilized a cluster of ten cutting edge, pre-production Dell servers with PCIe-3 based network cards. The computers were stuffed with SSDs and joined together between cities via a "state of the art" fiber optic network connected to multiple 100Gbps network switches. Some more details about the setup can be found here.
Caltech hopes their new achievement can be applied to CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a particle accelerator where scientists can take small amounts of matter, accelerate them to 99.9% the speed of light and collides the matter together in hopes that the resulting "explosion" reveals clues about our universe. During these tests, a massive amount of particle data is generated and that data needs to be collected. The team hopes that their progress in the field of high-speed communications will help high-energy physicists collect, send and receive this tremendous amount of data with greater ease.