Categories: News

Engineers Break Capacity Limit for Fibre Optic Communication

Electrical engineers from the University of California’s Qualcomm Institute have developed a solution to capacity limits inherent in fibre optic cabling, increasing the maximum distance and power at which optical signals can be sent through conventional cabling, allowing for record-breaking data transmissions that could be a huge boost to internet, cable TV, wireless, and landline networks, a new study has revealed.

“Today’s fiber optic systems are a little like quicksand,” Nikola Alic, research scientist at the Qualcomm Institute and co-author of the study said. “With quicksand, the more you struggle, the faster you sink. With fiber 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 fiber without needing a repeater.”

Trials conducted in San Diego transmitted information across 12,000km via fibre optic cable without data degradation, making it the furthest distance across which information has been sent using optics without amplifiers or repeaters.

“Crosstalk between communication channels within a fiber optic cable obeys fixed physical laws. It’s not random. We now have a better understanding of the physics of the crosstalk. In this study, we present a method for leveraging the crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fiber,” eStojan Radic, Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC San Diego, and senior author of the paper, added. “Our approach conditions the information before it is even sent, so the receiver is free of crosstalk caused by the Kerr effect.”

The breakthrough follows Huawei’s recent achievement of reaching one terabits per second – the equivalent of sending 33 HD movies in a single second – data transmission through super-channel optical cable in Nice, France recently. How long until these phenomenal speeds reach our homes?

Thank you UC San Diego for providing us with this information.

Ashley Allen

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