New approach allows all the capacity in optical fiber to be utilized - 10x increase

12/04/2013 - 00:00

Optical fibers carry data in the form of pulses of light over distances of thousands of miles at amazing speeds. They are one of the glories of modern telecommunications technology. However, their capacity is limited, because the pulses of light need to be lined up one after the other in the fiber with a minimum distance between them so the signals don't interfere with each other. This leaves unused empty space for data in the fiber.

EPFL's Camille Brès and Luc Thévenaz have come up with a method for fitting pulses together within the fibers, thereby reducing the space between pulses. Their approach, which has been published in Nature Communications, makes it possible to use all the capacity in an optical fiber. This opens the door to a ten-fold increase in throughput in our telecommunications systems.