A team of scientists funded by the European Union have shown off a prototype system that lets them substantially improve the data capacity of fiber optic networks. A Thursday report explained that the technology relies on reducing the amount of interference or noise caused by other signals and amplifiers, kind of like auto-tune software. The hardware that accomplishes this can be fitted to existing networks, its creators told the BBC.
The data signals can be degraded by cross-talk from other signals or phase noise that doesn't have the same arrival time as the departure time. Current electronic devices can overcome these issues, but at the cost of data capacity. The researchers' device can clean up a noisy signal and transmit it again with a larger capacity. It uses the latest findings based on optical fibre and lasers to lock onto the signal and differentiate it from noise.
The development was done in part by researcher Periklis Petropoulos from the University of Southampton, at the Optoelectronics Research Centre. The laboratory prototype is still a ways off production readiness, however, Petropoulos said. Technology gleaned from the research could be particularly useful for long-distance fibre networks.