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Research collaboration on next-generation optical networks between NICT and the University of Bristol

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September 20, 2016

National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

NICT has lead research into advanced optical fiber communication using multi-core fibers (MCFs) in recent years, setting several world records for transmission capacity through a single strand of fiber. While research in this field thus far has been mostly concerned with the improvement of point-to-point links, the addition of spatial channels also opens the way for new networking and control strategies for managing traffic in MCF networks. Networking over MCF links has been at the heart of a long-standing research partnership between NICT and the University of Bristol that has previously resulted in a number of significant research outcomes.

This time, NICT and the University of Bristol demonstrated the benefits of using MCFs in networks by proposing a new network concept utilizing flexible assignment of spatial paths and eliminating the filtering penalty resulting from cascaded wavelength selective switches (WSSs). Allowing bandwidth allocation using spatial channels avoids reconfiguration of all channels typically required when adding channels with WSSs, simplifies the switching architecture and allows robust privacy across all transmission channels that is not possible with broadcast-and-select access networks. NICT’s contribution was in-depth optical transmission expertise and advanced infrastructure including a variety of unique multicore fibers, while the University of Bristol was in charge of the overall network design and control scheme to bring out the full potential and benefit of multicore fiber transmission. This experiment forms another important step in demonstrating the effectiveness of using multicore fibers in the development of next-generation optical networks with Petabits per second transmission links.

Investigated multicore fiber network architecture
Investigated multicore fiber network architecture


Technical Contact

Werner Klaus

Photonic Network System Laboratory
Network System Research Institute NICT