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How Light Will Make the Web 85,000 Times Faster-and Power Blazing Fast Computers

Since the dawn of the Internet, millions of users have dreamed of getting true high-speed connections.

Well, fasten your seat belts folks…

A new breakthrough promises to provide Web and other computer networks links that are 85,000 times faster than what we have today.

No, that's not a misprint. But it is so fast it's hard to get your mind around-especially for those of you who remember using phone lines to surf the web.

Back then it seemed you could take a break, paint your house, cut the grass and clean the kitchen — and still get back to your computer before it finished downloading a photo.

Forget video. That sounded like a sci-fi fantasy.

Admittedly, it's gotten quite a bit faster since then. Over the past decade millions of users around the U.S. have joined the broadband revolution. It's now becoming standard to link to the Web at speeds of at least 10 megabits per second, or about 175 times faster than dial up.

But even at those speeds, the magnitude of the change I'm describing is hard to fathom. But I'll try.

Think of it this way: If dial up was a one-story home, then today's broadband would stand almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

Yet, to equal what I'm calling Ultimate Broadband–or 85,000 times faster than what we have now– you'd have to string Empire State Buildings 1.3 times around the entire surface of the Earth!

Internet Speeds Beyond Belief

It works using twisted beams of infrared light.

Now you know why this innovation will be so crucial for the future of broadband communication and entertainment.

Having just upgraded my home theater, I can speak from personal experience. Super-fast connections are what's driving the next wave of home entertainment and data services.

And here's the thing: you won't need wires to take advantage of these incredible speeds.

In fact, a global team lead by the University of Southern California used wireless gear to prove the system works. They achieved speeds of 2.5 terabits (2.5 trillion) per second.

They beamed data over open space in a lab. The idea was to simulate the type of link that might occur between satellites in space.

Team members manipulated eight beams of light. They twisted each one into a spiral shape. Turns out twisted light beams are very powerful because they can encode huge amounts of data.

This, by far, exceeds anything we can get today with radio frequencies used for WiFi and cellular networks.
Next up: adapting the system for fiber optics like those often used to transmit data over the Web.

I believe we are still several years away from making light-based data links standard. But I do predict this breakthrough will help lead us to the Holy Grail of computers — harnessing the speed of light.

To me the question isn't if we'll have optical networks– but when.

Blazing Fast Computers

Here's the thing. The USC news came out the exact same day that a second research team reported a breakthrough using light to create super-fast computer chips.

This one deals with an arcane field known as quantum computing. It's complicated so I'll simplify it for you.

Today's chips depend on the use of electricity to move or store data.

Quantum systems go much deeper — they rely on basic atomic-scale elements like photons. Think of these as tiny pieces of light that have neither mass nor electric charge.

But they do have speed. Lots of it, in fact.

Just ask the team from the University of California at Berkeley and the City College of New York who did the study. To encode data, they used light to control the spin of an atom's nucleus.

The result: chips several times faster than anything we can produce today.

Not only that, what they call "spintronics" would yield a huge increase in processing power — it would allow you to have multiple data streams running at the same time.

It gets better. The research team said chips would no longer remain fixed after they're etched in the factory. Spintronics would allow us to rewrite them on the fly.

Need a faster computer? Just zap your chip with a beam of light and you're good to go.

So you can see that light-based computers and networks represent a radical new approach to the way we obtain and share a wide range of data.

It's one of the reasons why I say the future will be like nothing we've seen before.


Michael A. Robinson, Defense and Technology Specialist

Further Reading…

If you want to find a way to profit from the next generation of tech breakthroughs, Michael's Era of Radical Change newsletter is a great place to start.

And you can't beat the price. You can get it free by clicking here.

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About the Author

Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.

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  1. Jeff West | July 10, 2012

    Very interesting article about fiber optics and light and their effecton future web speeds and ic development.
    Sounds like the ic's of the future will be programmable like FPGA's today or even more easily.
    Where would you recommend further research into this new technology?

  2. fallingman | July 10, 2012

    Very well written. Thanks.

  3. Ric Baker | July 10, 2012

    I can see your thinking is well advanced with your thoughts on twisted UV light, and the vast storage made available, and operating speed of photons.

    Would these sudden revelations, though not new, be due to official secrets acts becoming non infringed by the use of this technology in a today type of scenario.

    Why have our military aiming and guidance systems been so exact and terrifyingly precise,, and would this have something to do with Arab tank operators being deeply afraid these days as they have seen on so many occasions now how they can be discovered and destroyed, sometimes even whilst hiding in a building, once an initial sighting has been effected.

    Even the lowly Beowulf is devastatingly pin-point precise, even if the target moves out of sight after the initial sighting. Brilliant light/laser technology.

    It makes an old man feel proud that someone is now putting all this energy to a better use, and who would not love to have a computer that can work faster than my brain can make a decision what key to press next. Fantastic stuff, but maybe too late for me to enjoy, unless it will start up in the near future.

    Congratulations on your great work, and diligence, and I must say I am not surprised, and will hasten to add that it may take a man as yourself to rid the world of the disease "Lime Disease", which is becoming more prevalent in Australia as I write, and still our Health Authorities refuse to accept that people are contracting this insipid disease right here at home. People are travelling to the US to get suitable treatment, and I am of the opinion that a smart man can start destroying this virus in afflicted people quite simply, with a very old fashioned method, and a little help from nature.

    I would be glad to offer this up to the right person to exploit and prove some shiny pants that they do not know it all.

    Best wishes and good luck.

    R. Baker

  4. Ken Corbo | August 23, 2012

    I am interested in Radical Technology Profits and Era of Radical Change newsletter.
    Pleas subscribe me.

  5. Lane Garrett | January 27, 2013

    Regarding your commments on computers using light. You might want to check an article in around 1990 in Scientific American. The inventor at that time had a working prototype computer that operated not on transitors as the switching devices, but used what he termed transphasors–they used light from laser diodes instead of electons for the switching device. It had a theoretical speed of light for computing. What happened to it? My guess is it is being used as we speak in some NSA supercomputer that we may not now about for years. It would have required a whole new language due to the fact that it is not a digital device anymore. It was not simply yes or no, zero or one. It could be any magnitude of light from 0 to full power.

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