New receiver technology dramatically speed up home broadband


Receiver Technology

Slow internet speeds and the Internet ‘rush hour’ could be history with new hardware designed and demonstrated by UCL researchers that provides consistently high-speed broadband connectivity.

The new receiver technology enables dedicated data rates at more than 10,000 megabits-per-second (Mb/s) broadband connection to every UK home.

“UK broadband speeds woefully slow compared to many other countries, but this is not a technical limitation. Although 300 Mb/s may be available to some, average UK speeds are currently 36 Mb/s. By 2025, average speeds over 100 times faster will be required to meet increased demands for bandwidth-hungry applications such as ultra-high definition video, online gaming, and the Internet of Things,” explained lead researcher Dr Sezer Erkilinç. Our new optical receiver technology will help combat this problem.”

optical access networks

Scientists from the UCL Optical Networks Group and others developed a new, simplified receiver used in optical access networks. The links connecting internet subscribers to their service providers.

To maximise the capacity of optical fibre links, data transmit using different wavelengths, or colors, of light. Ideally, we’d dedicate a wavelength to each subscriber to avoid the bandwidth sharing between the users. Although this is already possible using highly sensitive hardware known as coherent receivers, they are costly and only financially viable in core networks that link countries and cities. “Their cost and complexity has so far prevented their introduction into the access networks and limits the support of multi Gb/s broadband rates available to subscribers,” said, Professor Polina Bayvel.

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The new, simplified receiver retains many of the advantages of coherent receivers, but is simpler, cheaper, and smaller, requiring just a quarter of the detectors used in conventional receivers.

wireless communications

Simplification achieved by adopting a coding technique to fibre access networks that prevent signal fading in wireless communications. This approach has the additional cost-saving benefit of using the same optical fibre for both upstream and downstream data.

This simple receiver offers users a dedicated wavelength. So, user speeds stay constant no matter how many users are online at once. It can co-exist with the current network infrastructure, potentially quadrupling the number of users that can support and doubling the network’s transmission distance/coverage.

The receiver tested on a dark fibre network installed between Telehouse, UCL and Powergate. Researchers successfully sent data over 37.6 km and 108 km to eight users who download/upload at a speed of 10 Gb/s. This is more than 30 times faster than the fastest broadband available in the UK, today.

We believe that it has real potential to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to every home. Which will support the growing digitally enabled economy in the years to come.

More information: [University College of London]