• Question: What way do you believe superfast data transfer will be achieved? Through materials (i.e. cables) and hardware or though web based services?

    Asked by Harrison to Adam, Eloise, Iona, Jarrod, Yip on 18 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Jarrod Hart

      Jarrod Hart answered on 18 Jun 2016:

      Superfast data transfer has already been achieved, but I guess the youth of today are hard to impress and want yet more.

      When I was a kid, a fax took like a minute to print and boy were we impressed.

      But seriously, we have probably not hit the limits of photons (in fibre) which are a huge step up from clunky great electrons (in wires).

      We can go up and up in frequency (all the way to cosmic rays!) and find yet more ways to stuff data into the poor little photons.

      If you want something faster than light then you will have to invent it!

      By the way, the internet is made from wires and fibres, to it is made of materials… so in a way, material scientists made the internet!!

    • Photo: Man Hang Yip

      Man Hang Yip answered on 18 Jun 2016:

      Like Jarrod, I remembered the day when we are pretty happy of transmitting data using a fax machine.
      When transmitting something, you want the passage to be clear of obstruction, just like cycling down the street you want the street to be free of pot holes, rubbish, traffic lights, etc. If we can have good medium for the data (e.g. in the form of photons) to be transmitted without obstruction, then you will have faster transmission.

    • Photo: Iona Strawson

      Iona Strawson answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      I think Jarrod and Yip have pretty much covered it.

      There may be scope for greater wireless data transmission though. If we can increase networks and improve global contact then we can reduce the need to cables, etc. Although all that information shooting through the air is bound to have it’s own set of problems.

    • Photo: Eloise Taysom

      Eloise Taysom answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      Totally agree with previous answers. Engineers also have to think about the logistics of new types of data transfer. For example, laying new cables in the ground is expensive and disruptive. Also, someone has to be responsible for managing that hardware. If we send stuff wirelessly there are other problems e.g. data is easier to intercept.