Optical fiber for multiplying communication capacity

Under the SARDANA (scalable advanced ring-based passive dense access network architecture) project led by UPC-Barcelona Tech's Optical Communications Group, a new optical fiber network has been created that can serve over 1,000 users per ring, 15 to 30 times more users than at present.

The range of the network is up to 100 km in urban and rural areas, a substantial improvement on the current 20-km range. The network can also guarantee speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to every household in rural areas and 300 megabits per second (Mbps) in urban areas, in comparison to the average speed of 10 Mbps that is currently provided by ADSL technology. In addition, the network is scalable, which means that it can easily grow without losing quality of service, and it is robust, secure and inexpensive to build and maintain.

Faster multimedia applications

The new system, which will become operational in 2015, is a dense universal optical fiber network (known as a fiber-to-the-home network) that has the potential to reach every household in Europe. It regenerates optical signals by means of remote pumping and amplification, enabling users to access multimedia applications without the bottlenecks that are often a problem.

According to Josep Prat, professor at UPC-Barcelona Tech and coordinator of the study, the new network enables users to watch four TV channels on different devices, record four other channels and upload videos on the Internet, simultaneously. Users can also download a DVD in four to five seconds and set up a high-definition video conference with the guarantee that communications will not be interrupted.

The SARDANA project, developed under the Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission, is based on the idea that technology must provide the tools to prevent the digital divide and that , as members of the information society, we should all benefit equally from the improvements provided by the new technological society.

The project began in 2008 and will end this year. France Telecom successfully carried out a field test in the town of Lannion (France) on January 20, and a public demonstration was held on February 9-10 at the 2011 European Fiber-to-the-Home Conference in Milan (Italy).

The project was conducted by a consortium comprising UPC-Barcelona Tech, Orange-France Telecom (FT), Tellabs, Intracom, Instituto de Telecomunicacoes (IT), Istituto Superiore delle Comunicazioni e delle Tecnologie dell'Informazione (ISCOM) and the Research and Educational Laboratory in Information Technology (AIT).

Source: Universitat Politenica de Catalunya