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Internet speed record broken

Hundreds of gigabytes of data are sent halfway around the world in less than 30 minutes by Sprint and Swedish academic researchers.

The world record for the transfer of data across the Internet has been claimed by telecommunications company Sprint and the Swedish National Research and Education Network.

The two organizations announced late last week that they had managed to send nearly 840 gigabytes of data across a distance of 16,346 kilometers (10,157 miles) in less than 27 minutes, at an average speed of 4.23 gigabits per second.

This was equal to 69,073 terabit meters per second (or 69,073 trillion bits sent through one meter in a second), which exceeded the previous record set by CalTech and CERN earlier this year.

Sprint and SUNET carried out their experiment in April, and said last Friday that they are confident that their achievement will be formally recognized later this year. But it's possible that another company or organization could steal their prize, as the Internet Land Speed Record--run by Internet2--is an open-ended competition.

During the test, the 840GB of data was sent from a 2GHz Xeon-based server in San Jose, Calif., to an identical machine in Northern Sweden across SprintLink (Sprint's Internet backbone network) and GigaSUNET (Sweden's 10-Gigabit research and education network). A total of 40 routers were involved in the trip.

Sprint and SUNET were eager to point out that their networks were also carrying traffic from other users during the test.

"This proves that carefully designed, all-purpose networks can also serve very demanding users, without using a dedicated network," said Chase Cotton, Sprint's director of data systems engineering, who added that no data packets were lost during the test.

Sprint claims that achievement has significant implications for businesses and information technology workers, and could lead to faster and more-efficient offsite storage and disaster-recovery services.

Internet2 is a consortium of American universities and tech companies that are working to make the Internet faster and more useful in the future.

The Internet2 network is already being used by researchers to exchange large data files, experiment with high-definition video and for other applications.

Previously, the fastest recorded data transfer over the Internet had been carried out by CalTech and CERN when they achieved a 68,431 terabit-meters per second transmission in February this year. Although they achieved an average speed of 6.25Gbps, this was only over a distance of almost 11,000 kilometers.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.