Huawei Technologies and China Mobile collaborated with Tsinghua University and Cernet.com Corp. to build what they claim to be the world’s first Internet network capable of reaching speeds of 1.2 terabits per second over long distances. The 3,000-kilometer network connects Beijing to southern China and is touted as a significant technological achievement using entirely Chinese technology.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, network trials began on July 31 and the tests verified the ability to achieve speeds of 1.2 Tbps, according to statements from Tsinghua University. This bandwidth is several times faster than typical Internet speeds around the world. Tsinghua, known as President Xi Jinping’s alma mater, touts the network as an industry first, built entirely using local Chinese technology. The university attached great importance to Huawei’s role in the development of the network.
Huawei has been in the spotlight recently after unveiling a 5G smartphone in August containing an advanced Chinese-made processor. It sparked celebration on Chinese social media and a debate in Washington over whether more should be done to limit China’s technological progress. Chinese state media calls the new network further proof of the country’s growing technological capabilities through domestic innovation.
Claims regarding network capabilities and use of uniquely Chinese technologies have not been independently verified. In February, Nokia announced that it had achieved speeds of 1.2 Tbps across a 118 km network in Europe. If China’s claims are valid, its new network would represent a significant leap in bandwidth speeds over long distances.
The network marks the latest battle between the United States and China over the future of technology and connectivity. As China touts its advances, Washington debates stronger measures to limit Chinese companies like Huawei for national security reasons. The unveiling of this ultra-fast network using Huawei equipment will likely amplify these concerns. China presents the project as a triumph of self-sufficiency, while critics see it as a worrying expansion of China’s technological footprint.
photo by Irina Iriser.