Scientists propose 20Gbps fibre broadband

News 7 Nov, 2012

New technology could boost internet speeds by two-thousand fold.

Scientists at Bangor University have developed a new technology that could boost internet speed over fibre by up to two thousand times that of average broadband connections.

The new system could deliver speeds of up to 20Gbps, compared with BT’s Infinity fibre broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps. Communications watchdog Ofcom estimates that the average UK broadband speed is around 9Mbps.

The researchers’ project, dubbed Ocean, has looked at ways to increase the capacity of fibre optic connections. Professor Jianming Tang, of Bangor University’s School of Electronic Engineering, said that to make the great leap forward in broadband, a technology called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) had to be applied to optical connections.

“The technology, Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM), has unique and inherent advantages including, for example, the fastest transmission speed and highest cost-effectiveness compared to all existing technologies, great system flexibility and excellent performance robustness,” said Professor Tang.

OODFM is well understood and is currently used in copper-based ADSL networks to increase capacity. It is also used in digital television and 4G mobile broadband networks.

The university said that the OOFDM could be used in currently installed fibre networks without needing to replace hardware. It is leading a three-year project to develop commercially exploitable smart OOFDM modules and network prototypes, using low-cost off-the-shelf components.

The technology would also draw less power than other technologies.

“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 20Mbps services, regardless of subscribers’ home location,” said Professor Tang. “Obviously, this will revolutionise communication technology.”

Bangor University is working with organisations including Fujitsu Semiconductors Europe, Finisar Israel, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and VPIsystems GmbH on the three-year, €3 million project, which has been funded by the European Union.

The researchers have filed a number of patents covering the technology and hope to push to technology to speeds of up to 40Gbps in the future.