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Fiber Optics Cracked: Super-Fast, Cheap Internet En Route

Fiber Optic Internet

Electrical engineers have made a major breakthrough in fiber optic communications which has the potential to lead to super-fast, cheap Internet.

When sending data through fiber optic systems — such as those which serve as the backbone of the Internet, cable, wireless and landline networks — the distance data travels before it becomes indecipherable has proven to be a major setback when it comes to data transmission rates. But this hurdle has been overcome by photonics researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) who managed to send data a record-breaking 12,000 kilometers through fiber lines with standard amplifiers and no repeaters, reported.

In order to achieve this feat, the UC San Diego researchers developed a technique which employs wideband “frequency combs,” which are based on the notion that crosstalk–the signal distortions which limit decipherable distance–is predictable and therefore reversible.

As a result of the study’s findings, which were published in the journal Science, the study’s authors claim that we now have “a method for leveraging the crosstalk to remove the power barrier for optical fiber” through what are known as “frequency combs.”

Nikola Alic from the Qualcomm Institute at UCSD, a corresponding author of the study, was quoted by The Economic Times as having described modern fiber optic system as “a little like quicksand” in the sense that the more you add power to the signal, the more distortion you’l see. But according to Alic, their “approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fiber without needing a repeater.”

Today’s fiber optic systems are a little like quicksand. With fiber optics, after a certain point, the more power you add to the signal, the more distortion you get, in effect preventing a longer reach (…) Our approach removes this power limit, which in turn extends how far signals can travel in optical fiber without needing a repeater

In other news, Google scientists have solved a quantum computing paradox by stabilizing quantum bits.

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