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  • Project Aims to Up Broadband Capacity 2000 Percent
Nov 2012
BANGOR, Wales, Nov. 8, 2012 — Broadband technology has gained increasing speed over recent years, and now it could become 2000 times faster — and for the same price!

Scientists from Bangor University’s School of Electronic Engineering are the first to propose a “future-proof” technology that dramatically increases Internet speeds and capacity. They have already managed to pump 20 Gb of data per second and are confident of hitting speeds of about 40 Gb/s in the future.

Bangor University scientists have developed “future-proof” broadband technology that could potentially provide speeds of up to 100 Gb/s — enough to download about 20 feature films in one second. This still of Jianming Tang and his team was captured from a video on Bangor University’s BangorTV channel.

The team is now involved in a three-year, European Union funded undertaking called the Ocean project to make the concept commercially viable. The technology they developed uses fiber optic cables. The problem with such networks is that, as the length of the cable and the amount of the data increase, errors become common — an effect known as dispersion.

While adding more physical fiber optic strands inside the cable would enable more data to be carried, increasing the cable’s size could get expensive.

To solve this dilemma, the scientists are looking to increase the number of fiber optic strands in the cable transmitting data.

“The trouble is, that can all cost a lot of money,” Dr. Roger Giddings, one of the team members, told BBC News. “So the focus for the Ocean project is really to find out if we can do it in a cost-effective way, and is it a viable way of doing it in a commercial setting?”

In a still captured from a BangorTV video, optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OOFDM) technology transmits entire chords of data rather than individual notes. This simplifies the network structure, reducing capital and operating costs.

The devised technology, which would use existing optical Internet cabling, is called optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, or OOFDM. It works by converting raw digital data into a series of physical electrical waves first and then finally into an optical signal capable of being pumped down a cable. The team has created the electronic kit that codes and decodes these optical signals on the fly, the researchers told BBC News.

“Compared to today’s commercially available broadband connections, the technology is expected to provide end users with both downloading and uploading speeds up to 2000 times faster than current speeds and with a guaranteed quality of services at a price that subscribers are currently paying for their current 20 Mb/s services, regardless of subscriber’s home location,” said professor Jianming Tang, lead scientist of the study. “Obviously, this will revolutionize communication technology.”

Besides broadband capabilities, the technology could also be used for 3-D TV, video sharing, e-health and other practical consumer electronics.

Other Ocean project partners include Fujitsu Semiconductors Europe, Finisar Israel, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and VPIsystems GmbH.

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