Taking a page from T-Pain's book, a team of EU-funded researchers has devised a means to get the most out of optical fiber's capacity by fixing imperfections in optical signals, much as auto-tune software fixes pitch in audio signals. The technology could drastically improve broadband speeds, especially across long distance lines like those spanning oceans to connect continents.
Data travels through fiber optic networks when our electronic equipment encode it into light beams, which are then beamed through the optical fibers, often over great distances. But the integrity of the light signal decreases as those distances increase, due to both imperfections in the timing of the various parts of the light signal and because of interference caused by other signals traveling along the same fiber.
These imperfections cause distortion of the signal at the receiving end and limit how much data we can fire across our networks, not because the fiber can't handle the signal load but because the capacity of our electronics to decipher all that distorted data. If the data came across sharpened and intact, the amount of data we could put on a fiber would drastically increase.
The EU researchers' prototype device takes advantage of both advances in fiber optics and laser technology to ensure signals remain sharp, reducing the reliance on electronics to pull signals from all the noise. In a demonstration, their device locked onto signals coming down the optical pipeline with a laser, distinguishing it from the "cross-talk" noise generated by other signals. When the signal reaches its destination, the device restores it to the crisp, sharpened digital signal needed for swift processing, just as auto-tune removes interference and imperfections from a singer's vocals.
Such technology could push broadband to levels limited only by the fiber cable itself rather than the signal processing equipment at each end. Though it's still in prototype phase, upon further development the device could plug right into existing networks, significantly increasing broadband capacity in a relatively short period of time.
Yay, faster speeds!!!
this article seems to completely disregard one important aspect of sending data. Their is only so many times a device and send or receive each packet of data in a given time before ether device can no longer keep up to light packets get too closely blended together to be able to send/receive packets without too many errors. I seriously doubt they are only sending data at a very low speed just due to errors and distortions, most likely they are already sending and receiving data over fiber cables as fast as their devices can handle without greatly increasing error rates. Helping to fix distortions would be good, but not a very drastic increase, we will still be sending/receiving data at same speed, maybe slightly higher. Plus any distortions traveling between the 2 ends of cable are still going to happen even with this new device, it's not going to prevent light packets traveling to close to each other from blending together or for devices to speed up how many packets of data a second it can process, it's only going to lower the error rates slightly.
i doubt this technology would help much at all, if anything it would be a very small percentage. The devices the send/receive the data already compensate for errors as it is, so this new device that "fixes" the signals before the actual devices receive them would only slightly increase the speed at which data can be processed.
I'm not expert but there just seem WAY too much info left out of this article on purpose to falsely make it feel like this would greatly increase speeds when it wouldn't.
"I seriously doubt they are only sending data at a very low speed just due to errors and distortions, most likely they are already sending and receiving data over fiber cables as fast as their devices can handle without greatly increasing error rates."
These are the same thing. More data can't be pumped into the cable without increasing errors and distortions. Reduce the possibility of errors and distortions, and you can increase the band of the signal.
Speed due to lack of distortion will decrease signal propagation speeds due to improving the ability to discriminate a signal from cross talk at reception/destination/relay device - The same concept is adopted in high frequency radar detection with regard to noise floor. This decrease in processing time of incoming data will increase the amount of data you can put on the fiber at one time within the same bandwidth limit you are operating at to start with; not more at once per-se but more over time. Additionally the added ability to "clean up" or tune a particular packet or data stream will allow you to place more data streams on the same fiber. This had been accomplished in the old days of fiber by doping fibers to increase certain wavelengths at specific distances. Some of that approach lives today. So cleaner makes "more faster" as well as "more cleaner" makes for more bandwidth due to elimination of signal noise ratio by "tuning". Very cool approach.