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UK Scientists Claim to Develop 2000 Times Faster Broadband via Fibre Optic

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 (11:08 am) - Score 4,582
fibre optic cable spectrum colours

A team of scientists working out of Bangor University in Wales has developed a commercially affordable method of using Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM) over fibre optic lines, which could deliver broadband ISP speeds that are 2,000 times faster than current services.

But the three-year project (OCEAN) is not the first to make use of OOFDM, which typically splits a laser down to multiple different optical frequencies. The data can then be broken up and sent in parallel streams via the different frequencies. Last year a team of Sydney University scientists found an energy-efficient way of using a single laser to transfer data down a 50km long single-mode fibre optic cable at speeds of up to 26Tbps (Terabits per second).

The key difference with OCEAN is that this work is capable of “significantly saving the network installation and maintenance cost for both [ISPs] and equipment vendors” by using low-cost off-the-shelf components and end-to-end real-time OOFDM transceivers via currently installed fibre networks (FTTH etc.). It also provides a “Green” solution due to the “significant reduction in electrical power consumption“.

The work is also more targeted towards home and business connections, as opposed to undersea cables, most of which tend to offer broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps; currently only a few UK FTTH ISPs offer up to 1Gbps and most suffer from very limited coverage.

Professor Jianming Tang explained:

Compared to today’s commercially available broadband connections, the technology is expected to provide end-users with both downloading and uploading speeds up to 2,000 times faster than current speeds and with a guaranteed quality of services at a price that subscribers are currently paying for their current 20Mb/s services, regardless of subscribers’ home location. Obviously, this will revolutionise communication technology.”

However there’s still the little matter of capacity supply costs and Traffic Management measures to consider, although the university’s efforts bode well for the future and could help a new generation of truly fibre optic ISPs to improve their service without incurring excessive additional costs.

On the other hand most of today’s connections are still being delivered over older and slower copper based broadband lines. This is gradually beginning to change and the situation could look very different in another ten or twenty years’ time.

According to Bangor University, OCEAN is a partnership project (funded by the European Union (3m Euros+)) that includes several major global telecoms firms; Fujitsu Semiconductors Europe, Finisar Israel, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and VPIsystems GmbH.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar tmc

    Sure, but what the R&D department devlelops as “FIRMWARE” upgradable, will end up being pushed onto retailers as a new “HARDWARE” upgrade.. otherwise who will pay gobs of money for software?!? Isps, also have very little interest in offering FTTP broadband that is super fast and dirt cheap. That will kill the wireless subscribership which charges very high fees– which is a conflict of interest by telcos which are are in the best position to delploy and offer the ultra-fast service. Therefore, if you don’t have a NEW deployment company/utility come into being, most likely these new technology won’t see the light of day as a benefit to the consumer.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      This sort of tech would most likely be used in core networks not by end users like you or me 🙂

    • Avatar zemadeiran

      If it’s good enough for the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, it’s good enough for me.


      “Compared to today’s commercially available broadband connections, the technology is expected to provide end-users with both downloading and uploading speeds up to 2,000 times faster than current speeds”

      “developed a commercially affordable method of using Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM) over fibre optic lines”

      Just thought I would point the above out to you 🙂

      From “Goldie looking Chain” to this amazing jump in optical technology….

      And the creationists do not believe in evolution?

      It is like zemadeiran has foretold, Follow the Gourd!

  2. An active 1Gbit SFP is sub £40, Gpon SFP’s are just as cheap. The problem isn’t the speed/cost of the SFP at the customer end.

    The issues are the costs of backhaul at a national dark fibre / ethernet wholesale level and the costs of installing fibre to the home.

    BT LLU copper costs £1 per line per month so what incentive is there for ISP’s to invest in the £500 to £1000 per property to install FTTH? None!

    Consider B4RN, they’re looking at circa 2000 subscribers at 1Gbit per subscriber but their backhaul is ‘only’ 10Gbit and I’d be surprised if their CDR with their upstream ISP will be much more than 1 or 2 Gbit (But I’ll stand to be corrected on that!)

    • Avatar zemadeiran

      This is exactly why we should be moving toward a fully peered national fiber mesh which is publicly owned and run for the good of UK PLC.

      ISP’s should concentrate on delivering added value ip services without the preoccupation of back haul et all.

      I want to see thousands of isp’s all over the country who specialise in their local area providing appropriate services for their community. I see no problem in even one man bands providing ip services to their village with it’s advantages in customer service etc.

      Job creation and with it innovation would be massive!

  3. Avatar james braselton

    hi there wow 26 terabytes per second or 26 tb/s infact i am my town uses comcast fiber networks soo i had my fiber consumption during this blog

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