A group of University bodies claim to have developed a method to ramp up the data bandwidth of fiber optic cables by excluding a barrier, which has restricted the maximum power at which optical signals can be sent. The team of researchers from University of California, San Diego said that their technique of adjusting the frequency of light signals would enable fiber lines to carry data over long distance, without appending electronic repeaters.
Researcher Nikola Alic said in a statement that today's fiber optic systems are a bit like quicksand, and the more you strive with quicksand, the faster you sink. With fiber optics, after it reaches to a certain point, the more power you inject to the signal, the more distortion you get, in effect - preventing a longer reach. But, researchers approach eliminates this power limit that in turn expands; how far signals can travel in optical fiber, without having an electric repeater.
Such repeaters are also acknowledged as optical regenerators – that convert optical signals into electronic waves, which are then processed and transmitted as optical signals once again. As, these repeaters process for almost 200 channels of signals at massively high data rates; they are basically called super computers - making repeaters costly, and difficult to construct.
By running light pulses through a frequency comb, the bandwidth data rates could be sent and received over long distances without signal distortion, as per the UCSD group's paper, which was published in the June 26 issue of Journal science. In their experiments, researchers were allowed to send an optical signal along 12,000 km of optical cable, as well as successfully deciphering the encrypted information at the other end by setting a new networking record.
Researchers did it by using the frequency comb to match the frequencies of the different channels of optical information travelling across a given fiber. Generally, such signals are subjected to crosstalk caused due to a physical phenomenon called as the Kerr effect. The longer the fiber cables, and the higher the power level, the greater the crosstalk. But, by twiddling the signals to consider the known physical properties of the Kerr effect before the data was transmitted; the researches were capable to render the crosstalk reversible at the receiving end.
A research scientist Bill Kuo said that they are pre-empting the distortion effects, which will occur in the optical fiber. The researchers’ group’s method could equip telcos with a way to boost their optical signals, and their data transmission rates without incurring labor expenses, and cost of installing repeaters along with their cable lines.
The seven- researchers’ team behind the study included two researchers from the Qualcomm Institute – a department of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and five researchers from the UCSD Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.