Researchers at University College London have developed a new receiver for fibre broadband, which could give us all up to 10Gb fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) internet at a much lower price.
Working from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL, the research team developed the tech as a way of future-proofing fibre networks. A key reason for low FTTH roll-out, they said, is the costs involved: it isn't cheap to lay new cables and provide a receiver that connects them to our homes.
The new receiver tech, however, is smaller and has around 75-80% fewer components - which would radically reduce its cost and make it easier to install.
Dr Sezer Erkilinc, who lead the research team, kindly explained in layman's terms: "We have designed a simplified optical receiver that could be mass-produced cheaply while maintaining the quality of the optical signal. The average data transmission rates of copper cables connecting homes today are about 300Mb and will soon become a major bottleneck in keeping up with data demands, which will likely reach about 5-10Gb by 2025. Our technology can support speeds up to 10Gb, making it truly future-proof."
Co-author Dr Seb Savory gave a simplified explanation of how it works: "We achieved this by applying a combination of two techniques. First a coding technique often used in wireless communications was used to enable the receiver to be insensitive to the polarisation of the incoming signals. Second we deliberately offset the receiver laser from the transmitter laser with the additional benefit that this allows the same single optical fibre to be used for both upstream and downstream data."
It's just that easy.
The snappily-titled study, 'Polarization-Insensitive Single Balanced Photodiode Coherent Receiver for Long-Reach WIDM-PONs', was published in the Journal of Lightwave Technology.
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