Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spreading high-speed Internet to rural areas

18.03.2009
A high-powered laser offers a low-cost way to spread broadband to sparsely-populated areas

To cut the cost of bringing high-speed Internet to rural areas, Dr. Ka Lun Lee and colleagues at the University of Melbourne and NEC Australia in the state of Victoria are experimenting with a way to boost the reach of existing technology.

Their results, which show a new way to cheaply cover 99 percent of those living in this province, will be presented during the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC), taking place March 22-26 in San Diego.

The 21st century has seen a big push to close the digital divide that separates people in cities from people in rural areas. Even as this divide has closed somewhat in recent years, high-speed Internet is often unavailable, or too costly, for those who live far from the city. According to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Research Project, the number of broadband users in rural areas is still about a third less than in urban areas in the United States.

Traditional high-speed services used by city-dwellers -- like DSL or cable -- require extensive networks of equipment and lines out in the field. The cost of this infrastructure increases rapidly as the size of the covered area increases. Other technologies like satellite and fixed wireless offer wider coverage, but are often unreliable and expensive.

Gigabit passive optical networks (GPON) -- used, for example, by Verizon's FiOS service -- provide the lowest cost at higher bitrates, says Lee. These networks carry data long distances over optical fibers to passive optical splitters, which split the signal to individual households. Currently, the reach of this technology into rural areas is limited by the loss in signal strength along the optical fiber, and each line can only radiate out approximately 19 miles from a central office.

According to Lee's calculations, 19 miles is not enough to reach rural areas. In Victoria, Australia's most densely populated state, this reach would leave a large fraction of the rural population off of the grid. In other more spread out parts of Australia and the world at large, this number of people on the wrong side of the digital divide is likely to be even higher. Current strategies for increasing the area covered require the installation of new, costly components in the field or a switch to other systems not compatible with current standards.

To boost the reach of GPON, Lee and his team use a device called a Raman amplifier. Installed in the central office of a network provider, this high-powered laser feeds the optical signal that carries information with energy as it heads out over a fiber. This increases the power and reach of the signal by a factor of almost ten.

To see how far such a network could reach, Lee's team built a mock network with a signal transmitter, a simulated splitter, and a receiver at the other end. Their proof-of-concept experiment successful transmitted data over 37 miles of single mode fiber, error-free, at a speed of 2.5 Gb/s.

According to Lee's data, a reach of 37 miles would allow the existing offices of network providers to service 99 percent of all Australians living in Victoria. The technology may have an added cost benefit for urban areas. With added reach, a number of central offices of network providers could be closed down to save money on real estate, says Lee.

The biggest drawback of the system in its current form is the question of safety. The supercharged signal will require additional safety measures, and a more careful inspection for breaks in fibers.

"We have proven that long-reach PON is cost-competitive with other broadband technologies in rural areas and can easily provide much higher access speeds," says Lee. He believes that the technology may also be useful in other countries like the United States. The next steps are to investigate ways to enhance the system performance further and to construct a prototype.

Colleen Morrison | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osa.org

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>