A superfast internet at affordable prices is always desirable, but getting both together is very hard to find. That may be changing in the future as a group of researchers has achieved a major breakthrough towards a faster and cheaper internet.
Researchers successful in transmitting long distances
At UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute, researchers exceeded the current capacity limit of optical fiber network by increasing the power of optical signal by 20 times, thereby increasing the maximum power and distance through which optical signals can be sent through optical fibers.
In the lab experiment, researchers were successful in interpreting information after it traveled a record-breaking 12,000 km through fiber optic cables with standard settings.
One of the researchers, Nikola Alic from the Qualcomm Institute at University of California – San Diego, said that the presently used fiber optics system are similar to quicksand, where after a certain point, the additional power added leads to a distorted signal, “in effect preventing longer reach.”
“Our approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fiber without needing a repeater,” Alic said.
Making the internet affordable
In an earlier project, the team had already increased the power by removing a key barriers that limited the distance an information can travel in the optical fibers, but this time engineers were successful in transmitting information 7,400 miles without using an electronic regenerators to boost the signals. According to the researchers, this could help in boosting data transmission rates for the internet, cable, wireless and landline networks.
With this new finding, the need for electronic regenerators placed at the fiber link is eliminated. This study is based on the development of wideband “frequency combs,” which ensurs that distorted signals are reversed at the receiving end of the fiber. The technology also helps in preventing signal distortion called “crosstalk.”
Presently, an electronic regenerator carries between 80 to 100 channels, which increases the cost of signals and limits the development of a transparent optical network. Therefore, excluding electronic regenerators could revolutionize the network infrastructure of an economy by leading to cheaper and efficient transmission of information.
The research was published on June 26th in the journal Science.