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Breakthrough study paves the way for faster, cheaper Internet


Researchers at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute have broken the capacity limits of fiber optic networks that has increased the power of optic signals by 20 times. The new study has increased the maximum power, and distance at which optical signals can be sent through optic fibres.10-gb-internet

Earlier, Engineers increased the power of the signal by breaking the key barriers that limit the distance information can travel in optical fibres. This time, engineers were able to transmit information 7,400 miles without the need for electronic regenerators to boost the signal. Researchers said that this study has the potential to increase the data transmission rates which supports Internet, cable, wireless and landline networks.

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“With fibre optics, after a certain point, the more power you add to a signal, the more distortion you get, in effect preventing a longer reach,” said Nikola Alic, a research scientist at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute.

During experiments, researchers were able to decipher information, after it traveled 12,000 kilometers with standard amplifiers, without the need for repeaters also known as electronic regenerators.  This could eliminate the need for repeaters which are placed periodically along the fibre link. These pricey regenerators are similar to supercomputers that  must be applied to each channel in the transmission.

At present, electronic regeneration carries between 80 to 100 channels, which increases the cost, and prevents construction of transparent optical network. Elimination of electronic regeneration could transform the network infrastructure in an economy, leading to cheaper and efficient transmission of information. Researchers developed wideband “frequency combs” that led to the breakthrough. The frequency comb would keep the signal distortions called “crosstalk” predictable, and thus reversible at the end of the line.

Stojan Radic, senior author on the research paper published in the Journal Science stated that they present a method for leveraging crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fibre.

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