IBM trash-talks all those other chipsters with its latest breakthrough, an optical transceiver chipset that can accomplish the technological equivalent of cramming a basketball through a garden hose. The trick here is moving data through fiber optic cables at 160GB per second; that's eight times faster than today's optical components can do.

What does that mean for you and me? How about an HD movie downloading in one second compared with the snail's pace of a few hours it takes to download a 720p flick from Xbox Live today? All that breakneck speed will be made possible by this tiny device that's just 3.25 x 5.25mm small. But will this minuscule chip really solve the current bandwidth problem?

There's plenty of fiber around, but until this breakthrough, it was all dressed up with no place to go. What's needed is this kind of technology that can speed up transfer and receive rates. Well, and then actually getting that fiber optic connection to the doorsteps of households across the world (otherwise known as fiber to the home) is no easy task, either. However, Verizon FiOS is making some progress here.

Once those connections are made, it'll be up to weasels like Time Warner Cable and Comcast to figure out ways to throttle this blazing speed, and charge you unreasonable fees for it. Propellerheads, check the press release link for details.

Press Release [IBM, via Sci Fi Tech]