Increased fibre efficiency could accelerate NBN speeds: researchers

Monash Uni researchers achieved 10Tbps speeds with new technique

Monash University researchers have found a way to increase data capacity of fibre optic networks. The finding could greatly accelerate the speed of the NBN, Monash said.

The technique, presented last week at the Optical Fiber Communications conference in California, uses commercial components manufactured in Australia to increase the efficiency of existing fibre networks.

After implementation, fibre transmitted at 10Tbps over more than 850km in length. By comparison, ADSL2+ speeds average 6Mbps.

The researchers increased capacity by reprogramming a network component, the wavelength selective switch, to work with data encoding technology that makes more efficient use of available data channels.

Arthur Lowery, one of the researchers and a professor at Monash, said the technique allows new traffic to “squeezed into the fibre at any location and added to any ‘lane’ of the fibre freeway even between existing lanes”.

Previously, data was transmitted with gaps between channels.

“Our approach is so flexible, network operators could adjust capacity to respond to increased demand. For example, from people following big sport events like the Olympics," Lowery said.

The additional capacity means more can be done with existing infrastructure.

"Rather than laying hundreds of new parallel optical fibres to boost network capacity, we can make more efficient use of the existing network by tweaking the way data is transmitted over long distances," Lowery said.

Liang Du, another Monash researcher, said the advance should be easy to implement.

"Because we are have made use of equipment that is already on the market, this technology could be translated to the consumer quite quickly," he said.

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