Researchers from the University of Southampton are working in a project with the aim of increase dramatically the bandwidth of optical fibre. The project is called MODE-GAP that stands for Multi-mode capacity enhancement with PBG fibre. The results of this project would boost the capacity of nowadays networks by developing and testing advanced fibre technologies.
Nowadays the demand of bandwidth is continuously growing due to services like high quality video streaming or interactive gaming. Due to this situation and the limited performance of current optical fibre networks it is predictable that in a near future an evolution in the field will be needed.
Current optical networks are based in SMF (Single-Mode Fibre) and the new technology in development in MODE-GAP project will use FMF (Few-Mode Fibre) that will allow to transmit information in several light pathways.
Ian Giles, coordinator of MODE-GAP states: “When you look at the problem of SMF capacity limits, the simple solution may seem to be to increase the number of fibres in the network, but when you do this you also get increased cost and increased energy usage”
Basically what FMF does is using a form of ‘spatial-division multiplexing’, utilising the spatial dimension to increase transmission capacity. The team is also considering using a new wavelength range as another way of increasing capacity.
From Giles point of view, the development of this technology and its potential increase of capacity is a global solution that will benefit everyone using the network in the future.
It can be this technology or maybe another one, but seems clear that in the near future new developments will boost network capacity.