Closing the gap to improve the capacity of existing fiber optic networks

http://www.gizmag.com/cudos-fiber-optic-network-capacity/26969/

Closing the gap to improve the capacity of existing fiber optic networks

By Darren Quick

April 7, 2013

Researchers claim to have increased the data capacity of optical networks to
the point that all of the world’s internet traffic could be transmitted via a
single fiber (Photo: Shutterstock)

A team of researchers working through Australia’s Centre for Ultrahigh
Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) has developed data encoding
technology that increases the efficiency of existing fiber optic cable
networks. The researchers claim their invention increases the data capacity
of optical networks to the point that all of the world’s internet traffic
could be transmitted via a single fiber.

Compatible with existing networks, the data encoding technology involves
making more efficient use of available data channels. Where existing networks
transmit data with gaps between the channels, the new approach packs the data
channels closer together, thereby allowing more lanes on the same
super-highway.

To demonstrate the system, the researchers re-programmed a LCoS (liquid
crystal on silicon) Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS) to make more efficient
use of available data channels. A WWS is a network component that uses
different wavelengths of laser light to combine (or multiplex) multiple
digital data streams onto a single optical fiber.

The research team, which included Professor Arthur Lowery and Dr Liang Du of
the Monash Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering and
Jochen Schroeder, Joel Carpenter and Ben Eggleton from the University of
Sydney, managed to transmit a signal of 10 terabits per second (Tb/s) more
than 850 km (528 miles) using the new technology.

That’s still well short of the 26 Tb/s data transmission speeds achieved by
scientists at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), but is over
a far greater distance than the 50 km (31 miles) that team achieved.

Professor Lowry said that the switch could be used to squeeze signals into
the gaps in data traffic that flows around large optical-ring networks
between cities. "Importantly, new traffic can be squeezed into the fiber at
any location and added to any ‘lane’ of the fiber freeway even between
existing lanes,” he said. "Rather than laying hundreds of new parallel
optical fibers to boost network capacity, we can make more efficient use of
the existing network by tweaking the way data is transmitted over long
distances."

“Our approach is so flexible, network operators could adjust capacity to
respond to increased demand, for example from people following big sport
events like the Olympics," added Dr Schröder.

The team believes the technology would allow existing infrastructure to cope
with the rising demand for internet, which is expected to increase 1,000 fold
over the coming decade, with minimal investment.

"Because we are have made use of equipment that is already on the market,
this technology could be translated to the consumer quite quickly,” said Dr
Du.

The team’s findings were presented last month at the Optical Fiber
Communication Conference in California. It was presented as a postdeadline
paper, which are intended to give attendees the opportunity to hear
breakthrough results in rapidly advancing areas.

Source: CUDOS

...

“Our approach is so flexible, network operators could adjust capacity to
respond to increased demand, for example from people following big sport
events like the Olympics," added Dr Schröder.

As a Internet user: We want more bandwidth every second and every minute
of the day. We don't want to wait for youtube videos to stream, games to
download, we don't want lag in our videogames while other member of the
family is streaming a movie. Give me 2 tera/s, and I will have lag in my
mmorpg game while my dad watch 4K video from Netflix. It will not be
enough. Never enough is enough. Theres only one answer More, and is all the
time 365 days every year. +1 a leap year.
I suppose the line is to try to explain it to no-internet users. But is
still weird.