A champion technology needs a noble cause. In this case, the cause is better access for all Europeans to the benefits that ‘always-on’ fast internet can bring. Researchers in the European NOBEL project know this better than anyone.
Building on research in its predecessor, the NOBEL2 consortium’s ambitious goal is to provide this next-generation optical broadband network. It is paving the way to this by reducing the upfront costs and simplifying network architecture and management to cut operational costs as well.
The idea is to give every European household fast access to all that the internet has to offer, including browsing, e-commerce and e-government, services for health, and developing services such as IPTV.
“It is a big step in network evolution to supply mainly IP services more efficiently. And it must be done at an affordable cost if all Europeans are to benefit,” says Marco Schiano, NOBEL’s coordinator.
The EU-funded project has focused on the development and evolution of long-haul, high-capacity backbone networks connecting European cities and countries. Although, as Schiano points out, its findings are equally important to the evolution of national and metropolitan networks.
“We have concentrated on pan-European networks but, while we realise different countries have different needs, the basic technologies dealing with network costs, ease of operations, flexibility, and the ability to supply [easily managed] present and future services are common to all,” Schiano says.
First up is transparency. A transparent optical network transmits and switches signals as light rather than electricity. The signals can be between any pair of nodes on the network with no speed or distance restrictions. What this means, in practical terms, is that there is no longer any need for expensive equipment at intermediate network nodes – the network is easier to manage as a result, and extra traffic can easily be accommodated.
So, thanks to this technological breakthrough, not only are transparent optical networks cheaper to build and maintain than conventional legacy telephony networks, they are also far more efficient and flexible with much greater capacity.
NOBEL2 has also made major progress in the field of automated intelligent networks, thanks to its work with the network control plane (CP). CPs are computation and communications systems that automatically control a network’s lower-level functions which are too complex to be controlled by human operators. As well as simplifying the management of complex networks, CPs mean new connections can be made on demand, and this means new opportunities in on-demand services.
Third, the project has been researching the use of packet transport technologies, which send separate ‘packages’ of data rather than a continuous bit-stream, as a more efficient use of network resources. It also provides a unified networking concept for all data, voice and video operations.Packing them in
The research is “pre-competitive”, which means manufacturers in the consortium are effectively competing with each other. So, NOBEL tried to future-proof its technological solutions (architecture, standards etc.) for development by any of its partners, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks.
At the “competitive stage”, he adds, the manufacturers will add their own private proprietary know-how and offer their own optical networking solutions to operators responding to customer demands of the time.
“People should also be able to access the next generation of ultra-broadband, multi-play services wherever they are using either fibre-optic or wireless technology for access,” Schiano says.
The whole question of last-mile access from homes and offices also needs to be properly examined. “When you talk about transport networks, [they number] in the tens of nodes, but for the last-mile, Europe-wide, there are hundreds of millions of access points. Incumbent operators are now using existing copper wires with improved technologies like dsl, but this will probably not be enough for the next generation of services.”
Looking ahead, Schiano says the partners in NOBEL would like to develop the research further. In particular, investigating more integrated networks, service platforms and user terminals, which work properly together.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
Fingerprints of quantum entanglement
16.02.2018 | University of Vienna
Simple in the Cloud: The digitalization of brownfield systems made easy
07.02.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy