Terrence K. O'Brien
VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada -- Lucent Technologies has demonstrated a 100-channel optical amplifier that could revolutionize optical networking technology, according to the company.
The experimental ultra-wideband optical fiber amplifier can boost lightwave signals carried simultaneously over 100 or more channels of light, company officials said.
The optical amplifier spans 80 nm, nearly seven times the optical bandwidth of current commercial wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) communications systems. They said the bandwidth is three times that of erbium-doped fluoride amplifiers, twice that of Bell Labs' experimental erbium-doped silica fiber amplifiers and 50 percent higher than previously reported experimental dual amplifiers.
The research team, from Lucent's Bell Labs and its Optical Networking/ SONET business unit, reported its results July 23 at the annual Topical Meeting on Optical Amplifiers and Their Applications, sponsored by the Optical Society of America.
Networks using the new amplifier could handle 100 or more wavelength channels, spaced at 100 GHz, instead of the eight or 16 channels used in today's systems. That will greatly increase capacity and enhance optical-networking capability.
"The amplifier will essentially eliminate network-design constraints imposed by the limited availability of optical bandwidth," said William Gartner, vice president of the networking business unit. "Such amplifiers will be key enablers for Lucent's future optical networking products."
The research project is supported in part by the MONET program, which is partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.