South Korean researchers have created a software-based router that leaves similar devices in the dust. The virtual box can transmit data at 40 gigabytes per second—compared to the typical 2 or 3—and runs on cheap, store-bought components.

Virtual routers work by emulating the proprietary components of a hardware router on inexpensive, easily procured chips—what's known as commodity computing. In this case, the team used computer GPU cards to break down complex, resource-hungry networking tasks. The hope is that virtual routers such as this could drastically reduce the number of physical boxes needed—to run data centers, businesses, and even the internet itself. "We can expect killer apps out of this," explained a professor involved with the project. "Ultimately, you can experiment with new protocols that are not used in today's Internet." [MIT Technology Review]