Scientists at Bangor University in North Wales are working
on a three-year project dubbed ‘Ocean’ in order to see if they can create
broadband speeds of up to 2000 times faster than those today, using existing
fibre optic cables.
So far the researchers have managed to cram 20GB of data per
second down cable and hope to make the project "commercially viable” by the
time the project comes to an end. However, as more and more cable is laid
around the UK and cables become longer, this can cause problems with speeds.
"The effect is known as dispersion,” according to the BBC.
They go on to report that the only way to deal with the
problem is to look at such measures as "as increasing the physical number of
fibre optic strands in cables, increasing the number of lasers coding and
decoding the digital data, and signal amplification technologies”.
However, according to Dr Roger Giddings, this is likely to
push the cost up so that it’s not commercially viable.
"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?"
This has led to the scientists attempting a number of
different approaches, such as converting raw digital data into electrical waves
and they have designed an electronic kit which can code and decode optical
"There are probably less than 10 groups in the world
who have been looking at this sort of problem," said Dr Giddings.
"But we are the only group who has got this end-to-end
"This is the only system that we know of in the world
that we can demonstrate working in real-time - with a real-time transceiver and
a real-time receiver."
The Bangor scientists are working alongside some of the best
known and most respected experts in the industry such as "Fujitsu
Semiconductors Europe; the developers of the MPEG video format, Fraunhofer Heinrich
Hertz Institute; optic fibre innovators Finisar Israel; and VPIsystems, one of
the world leaders in network data analysis”.Whilst Project Ocean is expected to take three
years to complete, scientists say that they are already one-year in, so
consumers can expect to see some results in around 2 years’ time.