Electrical engineers in New York have broken key barriers that limit the distance information can travel in fibre optic cables and still be accurately deciphered by a receiver. A research conducted by University of California, San Diego, presents a solution to a long-standing roadblock to increasing data transmission rates in optical fibre: beyond a threshold power level, additional power increases irreparably distort the information travelling in the fibre optic cable. In a breakthrough that could lead to superfast, cheaper internet, researchers have increased the maximum power, and the distance, at which optical signals can be sent through optical fibres.
In lab experiments, the researchers successfully decoded information after it travelled a record-breaking 12,000 kilometres through fibre optic cables with standard amplifiers and no repeaters, which are electronic regenerators.
The new findings effectively eliminate the need for electronic regenerators placed periodically along the fibre link.
The electronic regeneration in modern light-wave transmission that carries between 80 to 200 channels also dictates the cost and, more importantly, prevents the construction of a transparent optical network.
"We present a method for leveraging the crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fibre," said Stojan Radic, from UC San Diego and the senior author on the research paper published in the journal Science.