It seems like a faster and more efficient internet may soon become a reality as engineers have developed a better fiber optic cable. A new study shows that it is possible to improve the internet capabilities with better fiber optics.
The study conducted by Photonics researchers at the University of California, San Diego succeeded in expanding the maximum power at which optical signals can be sent through optical fibres, thereby increasing the distance information travel while maintaining the receiver’s accuracy in deciphering the message.
This advance has the potential to increase the data transmission rates for the fibre optic cables that serve as the backbone of the Internet, cable, wireless and landline networks. The research is published in the June issue of the journal Science.
“Today’s fibre optic systems are a little like quicksand,” explains study co-author Nikola Alic. “With quicksand, the more you struggle, the faster you sink. With fibre optics, after a certain point, the more power you add to the signal, the more distortion you get, in effect preventing a longer reach.
“Our approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fibre without needing a repeater,” Alic says.
In lab experiments, the researchers successfully deciphered information after it travelled a record-breaking 12,000 km through fibre optic cables with standard amplifiers and no repeaters, which are electronic regenerators.The new findings effectively eliminate the need for electronic regenerators placed periodically along the fibre link.
The breakthrough in this study relies on wideband “frequency combs” that the researchers developed.The frequency comb ensures that the signal distortions called “Crosstalks” that arises between bundled streams of information travelling long distances through the optical fibre are predictable, and therefore, reversible at the receiving end of the fibre. ”We have presented a method for leveraging the crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fibre,” the authors said.
The new findings effectively eliminate the need for electronic regenerators placed periodically along the fibre link. These regenerators are effectively supercomputers and must be applied to each channel in the transmission. The electronic regeneration in modern lightwave transmission that carries between 80 to 200 channels also dictates the cost and, more importantly, prevents the construction of a transparent optical network.
As a result, eliminating periodic electronic regeneration will drastically change the economy of the network infrastructure, ultimately leading to cheaper and more efficient transmission of information, the authors said.
(This article was first published on cxotoday.com)